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  • Strange drum traditions

    Being on the east coast, I have seen my share of strange things at powwows. Since Im a singer, I will focus on THE DRUM.

    There are a bunch of strange drums in the east. You know who Im talking about. Those drums that sing and hit the drum but you dont know if its northern or southern. Those drums who sit in camp chairs all crouched over to sing. Those drums that do things drums shouldnt do. Boy scout drums.

    I recently saw a drum take some soda and fruit out of a giveaway pile that was covered with a blanket waiting for the head dancers giveaway! I understand it was going to be given away ANYWAY but I just see that as wrong. Other people did also.

    We have all spoken about these drums on here already, but why are they still singing? Does the term, ALL DRUMS WELCOME need to be taken off of brochures? Most of these drums only sing at smaller so called traditional powwows and a few of those non-ndn run powwows.

    Im all for people singing but it needs to be done right. I understand there are different trads for different drums but I am talking about plain ignorance of protocol, manners and respect.
    There are 2 types of people in the world...
    Really stupid people who think they are smart
    and
    Really smart people who think they are smart.

  • #2
    I think this all goes back to the mere fact that most people in drum groups today don't have the basic teachings and guidance needed to become good singers. A lot of these guys have never sung outside of the confides of a drum group and therefore learn what the head singer tells them. Well, what is the head singer doesn't know jack? And there is goes. It's cyclical.

    When I started singing, there were relatively few drum groups compared to today so we would just sing. I've been a member of several drum groups, but have also always just been a singer. I had the opportunity to sing with some of the best northern singers I've ever heard, and many of them have since passed on. Their pure knowledge of song and traditions was incredible. I remember sitting around the drum and hearing stories about family histories, songs, tribal history, etc. I see less and less of this these days and its sort of sad. Now, it's more..."dang dude, check her out" LOL

    One huge problem is that people have problems humbling themselves these days, and many think its a bad thing to say, "I don't know" when asked a question or asked to do something. So, they make it up or change it around to something they do know. And that's where you see these weird things crop up from. Its rampant here on the east coast because there are less tribes and less of a tradition of these ways. Its harder to get away with this junk out west so its seen a lot less frequently.

    There's nothing wrong with saying "I don't know". Its a lot better than faking it and making stuff up.

    But yeah, I've seen some weird stuff too from singers like standing up during a flag song and holding their turkey fans and fists in the air or my pet peeve - singing on beat
    I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Singerdad
      I think this all goes back to the mere fact that most people in drum groups today don't have the basic teachings and guidance needed to become good singers.

      Its rampant here on the east coast because there are less tribes and less of a tradition of these ways. Its harder to get away with this junk out west so its seen a lot less frequently.

      There's nothing wrong with saying "I don't know". Its a lot better than faking it and making stuff up.
      Singer,

      As usual, you have shared a lot of truths.

      Yesterday, I was talking with a "white" fella from New England who said he sings with a "traditional drum" from New England and practices the Lakota religion.

      Hmmmmm?


      Doesn't a traditional drum have knowledge of traditional "tribal" songs for many occassions and use this knowledge to sing for traditional ceremonies back at their traditional tribal areas?


      Hmmmmm?
      Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

      Comment


      • #4
        errrr "singing on beat" - dead give away there .. lol

        yea some guys just wake up in the morning and decide they are gonna sing. then proceed to head down to the local pawn shop, buy a drum and some pow wow tapes or cds and pick up a couple guys hangin out at the local gas station and viola! - they got a drum group ...

        or go sit with their mom's cousin's son's group for a couple of songs and then decide -"hey i can do this .."

        most don't realize that they have to learn ... and it does take YEARS to learn ... how to treat your singers well, to compose songs, to learn songs needed for giveaways, flag songs, proper protocol for the drum, etc.

        take terry paskemin, he sang with red bull for years early in his career. learned from edmond - then got his cousins and friends in sweetgrass together and practised in a quonset (just wishing we didn't lose that recorded tape of them practising - had no idea at the time "what" it had the capability to be .. lol), then took blackstone out. the name blackstone was taken from their great grandfathers' name "blackstone spoon". and blackstone has seen spawned other groups such as wildhorse, war scout and so on. sure blackstone has had some troubles in the past years but hey ppl learn from their mistakes and try not to repeat them ...
        Watch your broken dreams...
        Dance in and out of the beams of a neon moon

        Comment


        • #5
          ON BEAT - yeah!!!!! Not only do they have to sing ON BEAT, they have to have the biggest damn drum possible and they also have to pound on it the HARDEST they can from beginning to end. How come these guys dont blow out their voices and the GOOD SINGERS do.

          Speaking of good drums having others branch out of them.

          Why do the drums branch out? 1 main reason I have seen other drums form with members from a main drum is because they didnt get along and had different reasons for singing. I know 1 drum that branched out 4 times in 1 year!

          I understand other reasons could be people moving away or the drum getting so big (quantity of singers).

          I have only sang, sung, singed, with a few drums, 3 at most. I sat in with a few others. I only sit in with a drum that I know knows what they are doing and why they are singing. One time because I was invited to sing with an ON BEAT drum, tore me up.

          I have the hardest time when I get the chance to sing with someone I believed was REAL but turns out to be just another disappointment.
          There are 2 types of people in the world...
          Really stupid people who think they are smart
          and
          Really smart people who think they are smart.

          Comment


          • #6
            I am the one whome was talking to.
            I am "White" and from "New England". I dont get the quotations?
            Anyway, I have been on the drum for roughly three years. I have been learning the ways of the Lakota Religion and been practicing it. I am still learning, we all are. No one can ever know anything in their lifetime. Our drum knows some of the old songs, and we sing them. In fact, we go to some powwows and are the only drum that can sing speacialty songs. We are still learning as a family some of the very old songs that havent been heard at a powwow for 30 years! Living is learning. Like I told Whome in our chat, we are traditional beacuse the way and reasons why we sing.

            I dont know if it is hard for people to accept that a "White" man would choose the native american life style. I know what some "white" men do to the Native American life style, they whore it. They think it sells, thats why I go to the mall and see people selling "native american goods" sold by white men made in China. I am not here to "Whore" your peoples way of life. I want to live it, I know I will never be "Native" by race standards, I accept that.

            As for "Singing on beat"-
            Up here in New England some people call that "eastern singing". I see alot of totally white men drums singing on beat, it hurts my ears. Our drum does not do that, or tries not to. We call it "freight training". It is a hard thing to break away from beacuse when you are singing you want to sing in time with the beat, but you cant. Thats what makes crow hops difficult. We are not another "eastern drum".

            Why do "good singers" blow out their voices? Simple, they strain them. I know not all do, but from what ive seen and heard from singers is they go on these "good drums" and all they do is strain their voices to sound really good. Watch some of these "good drums" and see if they grab their throat to get that extra octive higher. You know what that can do to you? It can snap your vocal chords, then you wont be singing much anymore. Thats just what ive noticed here in New England, I dont know what its like out west.

            NOTE- I put quotations around "good singers" and such beacuse we live in a world full of opinions, I dont do it to seem ignorant, or prudent. We all have our opinion on what a "good singer" is, or what a "bad singer" is.
            Last edited by Dagnome; 03-30-2006, 01:15 PM.

            Comment


            • #7
              Hey...that's how we got started!? Ayez!

              [QUOTE=chazziff]

              yea some guys just wake up in the morning and decide they are gonna sing. then proceed to head down to the local pawn shop, buy a drum and some pow wow tapes or cds and pick up a couple guys hangin out at the local gas station and viola! - they got a drum group ...[QUOTE]



              lol jks. unfortunately, everyone thinks its 'kewl' especially non-ndns, hobbyists,etc. to try to be an 'ndn', let alone trying to be a singer. What is the PW circuit world going to do?

              Question, tho? How does one stop on an on-beat/upbeat of a drum at the end of a song? Mid-air? i've heard rumor of some well-known dancers who 'stopped in mid-air' then proceeded to float down onto the ground. Heard that at a pow-wow this weekend.
              Last edited by basikakwe; 03-30-2006, 05:08 PM.
              Saayahh!..What the...!

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by basikakwe


                lol jks. unfortunately, everyone thinks its 'kewl' especially non-ndns, hobbyists,etc. to try to be an 'ndn', let alone trying to be a singer. What is the PW circuit world going to do?

                Question, tho? How does one stop on an on-beat/upbeat of a drum at the end of a song? Mid-air? i've heard rumor of some well-known dancers who 'stopped in mid-air' then proceeded to float down onto the ground. Heard that at a pow-wow this weekend.
                I haveto disagree with your statement. I dont think it is fair to sterotype everyone who follows the red road who may not be of blood. SOME of us are not doing beacuse we think it is "cool". I myself do not do it beacuse it is the "new cool thing to do". When my lead singer asked me to be a part of his family, i did not take this lightly. It is a way of life, some of us choose it for the right reasons and there are as you said, "Some who do it cause its "cool"". Those individuals are usualy easy to spot beacuse they have no idea of the traditions or what a powwow really is. I dont mean to start some sort of debate or anything, I just dont want to see those of us who choose this way of life for the good, spiritual reasons to be put under the same catagory as "dumb white guys/girls who do it cause it's cool".

                Comment


                • #9
                  Originally posted by Dagnome
                  I am the one whome was talking to.
                  I am "White" and from "New England". I dont get the quotations?
                  Anyway, I have been on the drum for roughly three years. I have been learning the ways of the Lakota Religion and been practicing it. I am still learning, we all are. No one can ever know anything in their lifetime. Our drum knows some of the old songs, and we sing them. In fact, we go to some powwows and are the only drum that can sing speacialty songs. We are still learning as a family some of the very old songs that havent been heard at a powwow for 30 years! Living is learning. Like I told Whome in our chat, we are traditional beacuse the way and reasons why we sing.

                  I dont know if it is hard for people to accept that a "White" man would choose the native american life style. I know what some "white" men do to the Native American life style, they whore it. They think it sells, thats why I go to the mall and see people selling "native american goods" sold by white men made in China. I am not here to "Whore" your peoples way of life. I want to live it, I know I will never be "Native" by race standards, I accept that.

                  As for "Singing on beat"-
                  Up here in New England some people call that "eastern singing". I see alot of totally white men drums singing on beat, it hurts my ears. Our drum does not do that, or tries not to. We call it "freight training". It is a hard thing to break away from beacuse when you are singing you want to sing in time with the beat, but you cant. Thats what makes crow hops difficult. We are not another "eastern drum".

                  Why do "good singers" blow out their voices? Simple, they strain them. I know not all do, but from what ive seen and heard from singers is they go on these "good drums" and all they do is strain their voices to sound really good. Watch some of these "good drums" and see if they grab their throat to get that extra octive higher. You know what that can do to you? It can snap your vocal chords, then you wont be singing much anymore. Thats just what ive noticed here in New England, I dont know what its like out west.

                  NOTE- I put quotations around "good singers" and such beacuse we live in a world full of opinions, I dont do it to seem ignorant, or prudent. We all have our opinion on what a "good singer" is, or what a "bad singer" is.
                  Hello and welcome to powwows.com, dagnome. I was just wondering...which Lakota rez did you stay on to get your traditional learnings?


                  Why must I feel like that..why must I chase the cat?


                  "When I was young man I did some dumb things and the elders would talk to me. Sometimes I listened. Time went by and as I looked around...I was the elder".

                  Mr. Rossie Freeman

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    This one woman from Toppenish was telling me her nephew calls those on-beat drums "heya heya" drums. LOL
                    "Friends don't let friends drink decaf..."
                    Wakalapi's $49 unlimited phone service www.49deal.com

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Originally posted by Dagnome
                      I haveto disagree with your statement. I dont think it is fair to sterotype everyone who follows the red road who may not be of blood. SOME of us are not doing beacuse we think it is "cool". I myself do not do it beacuse it is the "new cool thing to do". When my lead singer asked me to be a part of his family, i did not take this lightly. It is a way of life, some of us choose it for the right reasons and there are as you said, "Some who do it cause its "cool"". Those individuals are usualy easy to spot beacuse they have no idea of the traditions or what a powwow really is. I dont mean to start some sort of debate or anything, I just dont want to see those of us who choose this way of life for the good, spiritual reasons to be put under the same catagory as "dumb white guys/girls who do it cause it's cool".
                      its useless the more you try to defend yourself the more people on this site will put you down. i looked at your site and one of the dancers has a kilt as part of his regalia, well thats the kind of stuff that makes me think that your not practicing the "traditional ways", if he wants to honor his scottish heritage he should participate in the highland games if he wants to wear a kilt, a kilt is not(to the best of my knowledge) part of the traditional Lakota regalia. if you don't want people questioning you make sure you stick to "tradition" and not mixmatch your cultures. thats what makes you look ignorant when you say that you practice the traditional ways

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Danbear, you are right. I could sit here and try to defend myself but I am not here to prove to anyone who I am. Everyone has diffrent opinions on what "traditional" means. In our eyes, and the eyes of who see us at powwows, we are a traditional drum. Everyone has a right to their own opnion, and I dont care who puts me down. I am proud of who I am and what my drum does. If you think there are certain ways to honor a hertiage then I say you are wrong. Where is it written that you need to honor your scottish hertiage by participating in the highland games? Is that the only way to do it? Honoring your heritage is not something that can be set by simple guidlines or standards. If there is a book on "The do's and dont's of honoring your heritage" then I think we all could learn a thing or two. Like I said, you all are entitled to your own opinions.

                        Joes Dad-
                        I myself have never been to a reservation, but who I get my teachings from comes off a reservation.

                        I guess I will close any more argument I could produce. You can question me all you want, I dont pretend to be anything I am not. I am still a student, learning, I dont sit here and pretend to be a Guru of the Lakota Nation. If you knew my drum, saw what we did, you may come to a better understanding as to why we are traditional. Most of you will probably never even hear our name spoken outside this website. Thats all I haveto say for now.
                        Last edited by Dagnome; 03-31-2006, 01:19 PM.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          So, you're a "traditional" Lakota drum, but you've never been to South Dakota??

                          Dang, that's the funniest thing I've heard in a LONG time. Thanks for that.

                          Just to give you a perspective...I know singers who've been at this for 1/2 century and more who don't consider themselves "traditional".

                          Oh, one more quick comment...you can't possibly consider yourself traditional if you don't speak sioux which I'd be willing to bet you don't...just thought I'd toss that in.
                          I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Again, I could perpetuate this very opinionated matter for a while, but I will end it. You are entitled to your opnions.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Dagnome
                              Again, I could perpetuate this very opinionated matter for a while, but I will end it. You are entitled to your opnions.
                              Well, that was easy
                              I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

                              Comment

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