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Old 05-17-2001, 10:52 PM   #1
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Post Gourd Dance Song Order

Hi gentlemen. I have a question that I hope ya all can help with. I know the first four songs and last four soungs of the Gourd dance have to be in a particular order. Can any one give that order correctly and a litlle background on each one? I belive the 1st four are 1)calling song 2)White Bear 3)Barking 4)Reed. What are the last four in order? I only know the ending song belongs to a good Kiowa/Comanche man's mother I know.What is mistakeingly referred to a the "Charlie Brown" song. Hope someone can fill me in on some background.Be gentle I'm a lady trying to learn a little more about all this.
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Old 05-18-2001, 02:38 AM   #2
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One problem with your question is that most of these older songs don't have 'names' so to speak, and if someone is referring to a song with a name then it is probably a way they have devised to remember that song and not an actual name.

From what I have been taught the order songs are sang in depends a lot on the tribe or organization that is holding the dance or sometimes the headsinger at the event. I haven't heard of 4 songs to start the gourd dancing, just the calling song, though there is a particular song that is often sang second, I don't know it by the name you used but I think it is the same one you are referring to. I was taught it is 'Setangya's song'. He was a chief in the mid 1800s and his name roughly translates to 'Sitting Bear'.

As for the closing songs, I was taught those are called 'paultoe gah' songs (my Kiowa aint that good so forgive). I am not so sure exactly how many of them there are but the final set is preferably ended with at least 4 of these song, then the buffalo dance songs are sung. (Note I said 'preferably' I have also been taught that you do not have to end with these, but when I lead gourd these are what I use These days most folks seem to prefer to sing the song called 'Charlie Brown' as the very last song, but like you I have heard this is a family song, yet folks still use it as the closing song. The order the paultoe gah songs are sang in seems to be the preference of or just however the headsinger remembers them.

Now by no means am I an expert, I just know what I have been taught so hopefully a few folks from the various tribes that claim origin, or for lack of a better term, traditionally do this dance might chime in.

Hope that helps
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Old 05-23-2001, 05:02 PM   #3
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I agree with powwowbum49 that most gourd dance songs don't have "names." Among the Kiowa, the older gourd dance songs are family songs. They almost assuredly all used to have words, but some of them have dropped out. Some songs have lost their family connection. Except for during a formal dance or special, you will hear the song sung straight (without words). So, like with Charlie Brown, there might be a song that has a popular label, but also is claimed by a particular family.

You would be correct in saying that there is an "order" to the songs, although (with the exception of the starting song) there is nothing written in stone as to when a specific song is sung. Many of the songs are sung in groups, as they sound similar to one another and flow from one to the next. As the dance progresses, the tempo increases, and the songs move from slow to medium to fast, ending with the paudl-tow songs (poor Kiowa phonetics).

As the prior post indicated, when a particular song is sung is up to the head singer and the other singers helping him out. It is difficult because a song sung out of place can stick out and usually kills the set.

Although there should be at least four songs sung to a set, it can go more depending on how the singers feel. One Fourth of July in Oklahoma, a drum sang 17 songs in a row in one set, which lasted a little over 45 minutes.

Rather than Set-angya, I think Gray Fawn is referring to Set-tainte (White Bear), who also was a great Kiowa chief. I am familiar with his song being sung early, usually during the first set.

Although there is no formula and relatively little in recordings for sale, you can recognize the patterns over time. Hope that helps.
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Old 05-23-2001, 11:24 PM   #4
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Park

You are right on that song...I think. I always flip-flop those two names...sorry about that...I think...LOL
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Old 08-11-2006, 02:13 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by park
I agree with powwowbum49 that most gourd dance songs don't have "names." Among the Kiowa, the older gourd dance songs are family songs. They almost assuredly all used to have words, but some of them have dropped out. Some songs have lost their family connection. Except for during a formal dance or special, you will hear the song sung straight (without words). So, like with Charlie Brown, there might be a song that has a popular label, but also is claimed by a particular family.

You would be correct in saying that there is an "order" to the songs, although (with the exception of the starting song) there is nothing written in stone as to when a specific song is sung. Many of the songs are sung in groups, as they sound similar to one another and flow from one to the next. As the dance progresses, the tempo increases, and the songs move from slow to medium to fast, ending with the paudl-tow songs (poor Kiowa phonetics).

As the prior post indicated, when a particular song is sung is up to the head singer and the other singers helping him out. It is difficult because a song sung out of place can stick out and usually kills the set.

Although there should be at least four songs sung to a set, it can go more depending on how the singers feel. One Fourth of July in Oklahoma, a drum sang 17 songs in a row in one set, which lasted a little over 45 minutes.

Rather than Set-angya, I think Gray Fawn is referring to Set-tainte (White Bear), who also was a great Kiowa chief. I am familiar with his song being sung early, usually during the first set.

Although there is no formula and relatively little in recordings for sale, you can recognize the patterns over time. Hope that helps.
I have also heard it called chief's song and it is usually sung early in the 1st set but not always depends on who is the Head Singer
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