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Kiowas! Please Read!

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  • Kiowas! Please Read!

    My name is Thomas and I'm a composer from Houston, Texas. I was brought into the native world by friends, not by blood. Ever sense I entered the circle I have felt obligated to give back to it, so I began singing with my friends. The powwow and the enviornment that surrounds it has changed me.

    That being said, I know a good handfull of songs by heart, and one of them, which I have done extensive research on and have come to love, is a Kiowa prayer song. All I have been able to translate literally is the words Dahk-ya-ee (God) and Aho (Hello or Goodbye). But the jist of it is that it is a cry to God for help.

    So here's the problem. I'm writing a piece for the Houston Ballet Academy. The piece with the dance will be performed at the Hobby Center in Houston, TX. In the middle of the piece, I have the Kiowa prayer song being sung.

    I've gotten mixed reviews from people saying its too contriversal, and that its dissrespecting the native culture. And I was just wondering, if I'm using it in a respectful way, would it be ok to go on with this idea?

    My motive behind this piece is to respect and promote the native culture NOT TO TAKE IT AS MY OWN!

    I want your opinion, because this piece has been choreographed to and will be performed at the Hobby Center in Houston July 12.
    Last edited by lemonyfresh09; 07-08-2007, 07:41 PM.

  • #2
    I am not Kiowa, so I do not speak for them.

    I do have an analogy for you though.

    I am not Catholic. I was not born a Catholic, but I have a great respect for their traditions. Some of my Catholic friends have taught me some of the songs that they sing. In the Catholic Mass there are three acclamations which are always sung by all during the Eucharistic Prayer. These are the Holy, the Memorial Acclamation and the Great Amen. I don't know what a Eucharistic Prayer is but the songs are really stirring.

    I'm writing a piece for a punk rock concert and in the middle of it I want to include these 3 songs. Sound like a good idea?

    Just a thought here - why not give a Kiowa person some tobacco and ask them if they will write a song for the purpose of putting into your piece?
    Last edited by between2worlds; 07-08-2007, 10:51 PM. Reason: needed to add a sudden thought


    • #3
      You can choose to be catholic if you want, but I can't just choose to be native. Because I'm not. I am but 16, by the way so I'm not some crazy old hippy that has a couple of musical friends.

      Your analogy is a bit extreme, but I see where your comming from. But realize this is classical music, not pop or rock or punk or rap or hip h... aha!

      You're absolutely right I am going out on a limb by changing genres. Here's a hypethetical situation: a white guy started something called hip hop powwow, because he liked native and hip hop music. No one liked it.

      Here's the fact: a native guy started hip hop powwow and this is the result:
      YouTube - Pow-Wow Hip-Hop-Style

      So If I were native, this wouldn't be as big of a deal as it is, it would seem.

      If you want to hear the movement its in I'll email you a sample. It's completely in context (excuse my bad singing and pronounciation, I'm working on it).

      Its a bit late to turn back on this project now but if in the future I would like to do something like this again, I'd probably have better resources and more connections to do that kindof thing and if you know someone hook me up this is exactly the kind of thing I need.
      Last edited by lemonyfresh09; 07-08-2007, 11:39 PM.


      • #4
        I'm sorry that you "don't get it". What I saw on that hip hop link was someone dancing very disrespectfully in what is considered a medicine dress.

        Why ask for advice or guidance if nothing can be done about the piece you are composing? If you're looking for validation for something that is a "done deal" I doubt that you will find it here.

        As for folks I could recommend, well ... you're not at the point where you would hear what they are saying.


        • #5
          Sorry, It's one of those i would if i could but i can't.

          But seriously give me your email and I'll send you a copy of it, if you listen to it it makes more sense.

          But I definately see where your coming from and I wish I would have known earlier who to see about making this project benefit for both sides. And if I'm never given that opportunity it's a lose lose situation.

          Brothers in song,
          Thomas G.
          Last edited by lemonyfresh09; 07-09-2007, 12:06 AM.


          • #6
            yea i don't think you should do it.

            Its a Kiowa prayer song and they have traditions and customs to follow in order to do things with the drum. Are you sure you even know the right words for the song? You said you don't know the whole meaning of it.
            The only time its too late to start dancing is when you're dead.


            • #7
              Just my opinion but the native culture doesn't need "promoting"...... and if it did... shouldn't it be promoted by natives????

              No way should a prayer song....... ANY prayer song .... be used.

              As far as the comment goes..... if I was native there wouldn't be a problem........ well if you were a native and wanted to do this, it probably would be a bigger problem because they would most likely know better than to put a prayer song in a ballet. They would be held to a higher sense of accountability.

              And as for the analogy about the guy starting a hip hop powwow is false. There was/is no hip hop powwow ...... the clip was a "freestyle" dance contest. And believe you me..... the girls caught all kinds of holay hell for it.

              It's also my opinion you were invited into this culture. You have no rights to take any of it and do what you FEEL is respectful with it.... that's how this whole land deal thing got started in the first place wasn't it??
              "We see it as a desecration not only of a mountain but of our way of life. This is a genocidal issue to us. If they kill this mountain, they kill our way of life." ~Debra White Plume


              • #8
                I agree with everybody's opinion Thomas.....


                • #9
                  I am also not Kiowa....but I think its a really bad idea man. I understand that you're not coming at this with bad intentions, but I think you should stop it.
                  It hasn't been put out, performed, sold yet right? So its never over till you say its over. Its not done until the COMPOSER says so.....the more time you spend on a song, the better it will be much of the time right? So if you truly want to do something respectful but you feel you NEED to have this in the song...take between2worlds advice, and make sure you've taken all the steps to make sure its done in a respectful way to the standards of THEIR culture. Not to mention, find out the full meaning....cause people will ask you. Its not over and done with till you say it is hun.
                  "To ignore injustice is to allow it"
                  Peace, Love, and many blessings,
                  White Wave


                  • #10
                    Bad Idea man. I'm not Kiowa either but it is a Prayer Song. These things are for the people. Honor them with another song you know.


                    • #11
                      Thank you for your comments, I really do appreciate them.

                      As a result, the piece will not include the Kiowa prayer song.

                      Thank you for commenting, it really did help with my decision.

                      Brothers in Song,


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