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    Torn between putting this here or in So. Singing. But since it's specific to gourd songs, I decided on here.

    I've not really been around the drum very long, but this year I've had the chance to sit in the "cheap seats" during some gourd dancing.

    As I was singing I noticed that some songs "seem" similar in structure to say war dance songs where there seems to be a lead and then that "lead" is repeated again. I also noticed that most of the singers waited for the repeating of the "lead" to join in although a few came in on the first time through the "lead." Now the lead was always allowed to complete so that was the major difference with war dance or intertribal songs where the lead is often interrupted especially during later push-ups.

    So with that as back ground, is there anything special about these songs? Were these maybe songs that were converted to gourd dance songs? When is the appropriate time to join in? During the repeat of the lead? Is it ok to sing join sooner?Maybe I'm trying to make too much of these songs and this pattern has no meeting. That's ok too.

    Any insight would be appreciated.

    Thanks!!!
    "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

  • #2
    Originally posted by hobbs49
    Torn between putting this here or in So. Singing. But since it's specific to gourd songs, I decided on here.

    I've not really been around the drum very long, but this year I've had the chance to sit in the "cheap seats" during some gourd dancing.

    As I was singing I noticed that some songs "seem" similar in structure to say war dance songs where there seems to be a lead and then that "lead" is repeated again. I also noticed that most of the singers waited for the repeating of the "lead" to join in although a few came in on the first time through the "lead." Now the lead was always allowed to complete so that was the major difference with war dance or intertribal songs where the lead is often interrupted especially during later push-ups.

    So with that as back ground, is there anything special about these songs? Were these maybe songs that were converted to gourd dance songs? When is the appropriate time to join in? During the repeat of the lead? Is it ok to sing join sooner?Maybe I'm trying to make too much of these songs and this pattern has no meeting. That's ok too.

    Any insight would be appreciated.

    Thanks!!!
    These songs were not converted from war dance songs..... and there are songs that have almost the same lead sometimes refered to as "sister songs" were the lead will start off the same with both songs but towards the end it will change... usually you will let the person who ever is singing lead the song completly threw the 1st time to see what song is being sung.... there are not to many songs that have a war dance style lead.... gourd dance has its own structure, beat and finish..... and when you sing gourd dance don't forget the wolf cry at the end... its not gourd dance with you it.
    Dayum I make some keen DrumSticks!!!!!!sigpic

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    • #3
      I'd like to follow up with another question regarding gourd songs if I could. I just spent a couple of weekends trying to keep up with some dudes singing these songs and it came to mind then.

      As Taco5000 mentioned there is just a different structure to the songs, a different beat, ending, etc. But does anyone have any ideas on "why?" that they would share? This may be a broader question like why is the round dance different than a war dance different than a trot, etc.

      However, taking the drum out of it (if that's allowed) and just looking at the singing aspect of it, *most* other songs you'll hear at a powwow will have a lead, a repeat of the lead, and then the song. But with gourd songs, the other singers just join in, with out the lead repeat.

      I know, I know, I may be worried about the minor points when I've got so much to learn. But sometimes in singing, like in life, it's the little stuff that gets in the way.

      Thanks for any insight and opinions.
      "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by hobbs49
        I'd like to follow up with another question regarding gourd songs if I could. I just spent a couple of weekends trying to keep up with some dudes singing these songs and it came to mind then.

        As Taco5000 mentioned there is just a different structure to the songs, a different beat, ending, etc. But does anyone have any ideas on "why?" that they would share? This may be a broader question like why is the round dance different than a war dance different than a trot, etc.

        However, taking the drum out of it (if that's allowed) and just looking at the singing aspect of it, *most* other songs you'll hear at a powwow will have a lead, a repeat of the lead, and then the song. But with gourd songs, the other singers just join in, with out the lead repeat.

        I know, I know, I may be worried about the minor points when I've got so much to learn. But sometimes in singing, like in life, it's the little stuff that gets in the way.

        Thanks for any insight and opinions.



        Gourd dance songs are clan songs. The oldest of these songs are usually sung at the very beginning of ceremonial gourd dancing, by knowledgable singers.

        In the oldest of gourd dance songs, there is a lead and all the other singers join in the lead to continue the song.

        In answer to your question about their relationship to intertribal powwow songs. . . "They are not the same."

        Just because a persons knows powwow songs doesn't mean they can sing gourd dance songs.

        To test this theory, we were host drum at a big northern plains powwow. For some reason they asked for a session of gourd dancing because there were a lot of southern visitors.

        I asked Lenny Beaver and Stan Pretty Paint (both well known northern singers) to sit in with us, because of their interest in the gourd dance.

        Throughout the session, they beat very lightly on the rim and were extremely cautious in singing because the gourd dance songs were VERY different than powwow singing.
        Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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        • #5
          Absolutely correct

          To put a bit of a different spin on WhoMe's point, you are dealing with apples and oranges. Just because gourd dancing and intertribal dancing both use songs and a drum does not make them the same or even similar. The gourd dance (and those songs) predate any sort of intertribal dancing.

          Think about it this way--why don't peyote songs sound like round dance songs? Or this kind of song sound like some other kind of song. Because they don't. They arose under different circumstances. Does a hip-hop song sound like a country song? Does heavy metal sound like jazz?

          Rather than searching for commonalities in song structure, beat, or whatever, I recommend you focus on the differences. Otherwise, you face the risk of folks I've seen at a gourd dance lead an intertribal song on accident. Keep them separate in your mind.

          I suspect you're looking for a shortcut to help you mentally connect this with that, etc. I used to do the same thing. Don't. There are no shortcuts to learning gourd dance songs because as others have pointed out, they can be difficult. Even without words. These songs were here long before us and should be here long after we're gone. Respect them and appreciate their differences.

          P

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          • #6
            And to put it simply...thats just the way it is!

            Also if you have listened to...in particular the old recordings of Kiowa Gourd Dance vol 1 & 2. the insert by Old man Cozad states that some of the songs were "put in there so they wouldnt be lost" ie Mustang songs. And some of the songs sung during gourd dance are also used for brush dance...

            Just the way it is...

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            • #7
              Thanks everyone for the replies. I can live with the idea that it's just the way it is. I was really just wanting to make sure that this was the nature of the songs. If there were some other connections, connections that maybe I was missing, that I might find out about it here. But I can certainly deal with the fact that Gourd Songs are Gourd Songs and that I needn't look any further!

              Thanks everyone!
              "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

              Comment

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