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  • Singing Songs Correctly

    East of the Mississippi there are several groups that simply butcher songs, but think they are all that. What’s your take on groups that can’t or don’t know how to sing songs correctly? Has anyone confronted these so called "good" drums, or do you just let them be and not waste your time?

  • #2
    Clarification...:Not all drums that butcher songs are east of the Mississippi....but im sure we all know that...
    I have tried..and tried...I gave up on that...besides who am I to tell someone how to sing...Not a single person singing today or ever in the past has sang EVERY song right..if I do say something, it's to the lead singer off to the side, not in front of everyone, 1. Because No one likes to be corrected and embarrassed in straight public, and 2. I am nobody to make a scene, nobody to act as if I am SOMEBODY, so I would discretely go to the side and say perhaps this is the way I was taught this song....Not say hey your singing it wrong this and that. 99% of the time that conversation will end negatively and you won't get anywhere....so I'd say if you're gonna say something, make sure you're 100% accurate, and be polite about it...or just don't say anything at all...
    bucwild2012

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    • #3
      Originally posted by suthernwaterbird View Post
      be polite about it...or just don't say anything at all...

      Well said suthern.



      SingerMD,

      I guess I can use myself as an example. In the past couple of years I have sung southern songs with singers in White Eagle, Red Rock and Pawnee, Oklahoma.

      I know I am not the best singer or even claim to know other tribal songs correctly. But at the drum, with singers that are singing their tribal songs, is a place I feel comfortable asking other singers what does that song mean?

      More times than not, someone will start an old or recent composition that I am not totally familiar with.

      When this happens, I always think back to what Tony Arkeketa said when he announced at the Otoe Heloshka...

      "If you don't know the song ... at least make a joyful noise!"


      It also says that in the Bible in Psalms 100.


      I will be the first one to admit I butcher songs. But because I haven't been scolded or rediculed ....



      I continue to try my best.
      Last edited by WhoMe; 03-06-2008, 10:59 PM.
      Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

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      • #4
        Man you guys rock! I couldn't agree more!

        I don't want to start a flame war, but I don't think that these east coast drums are really trying to butcher the songs. I know some of these guys and I think that they're trying to do the best they can with what they know. It's kind of different once you get too far from OK. The powwows are fewer and more disperse, and the chances of some real good southern singers showing up is even less. Let alone that the most powwows are run what I call northern style, meaning no center drum. The focus is almost solely on the southern drum groups. Honestly when you always sing with the same guys, how do you learn and get better. They say that practice makes perfect, but that's only true in singing if you're practicing in the "correct" way.

        I wish there were more southern style powwows out this way. I have yet to not learn something to make myself a better singer when sitting at a center drum!
        Last edited by hobbs49; 03-07-2008, 09:49 AM. Reason: Cause I can.
        "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

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        • #5
          D'ya guys think that singing songs is somewhat like gossip? What I mean is....... the more it spreads....... the more likely it changes.

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          • #6
            Dude...you're a clown!


            Originally posted by Kiwehnzii View Post
            D'ya guys think that singing songs is somewhat like gossip? What I mean is....... the more it spreads....... the more likely it changes.
            To get a true picture of your purpose in life, you only get the whole picture when you listen with your mind, your ears and your heart. This way The Creator has a direct connection with you and only you...no outside interference.

            When you follow the will of IT that created you, understanding that your purpose is not for you...but for IT and all that IT has created, there can be no wrong except failure to be obedient. Only then do we jeopardize the gifts we are given.

            Its not the final destination that defines us, rather the journey taken!

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            • #7
              Originally posted by Kiwehnzii View Post
              D'ya guys think that singing songs is somewhat like gossip? What I mean is....... the more it spreads....... the more likely it changes.
              I'll buy that. It's like the old telephone game. I whisper something to you. You then whisper something to someone else and so on and then finally the last person whispers to me. What I said and what I hear are never the same, even when people try hard.

              So are you suggesting that southern music stay in OK? Wouldn't that be a shame.
              "It doesn't really matter, they don't know any better anyway."

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              • #8
                Nah. I love southern music. I love to hear it live, instead of just cd's.

                i just think that songs do change a bit, (maybe just a wee bit) each time it passes to another person, no matter how hard someone tries to stick to the original.

                Do all the composing singers, northern & southern, think this is okay?

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                • #9
                  What we think is irrelevant. Fact of the matter is...what southern singing has evolved into NOW is soo different from the 80's. And southern music in the 80's was different from singing in the 50's and so on(even though it was rare, barely even done around oklahoma before then..not saying that is when it started, but that is when it hit so to speak). Basically my point is whether Cohn or Khaku or Sayghee or Awtah want it to or not, change is inevitable, so expect it. Instead of working against it, maybe try to find ways to make it better or at least bring the good things out in it rather then pessimistically whine about how non-traditional it is(not saying anyone on here is, but it is done throughout native country) Therefor, adapt, help improve or just as long as you have fun singing, then some of the original reason for singing is still there..which is to have fun, make people enjoy it, make people dance. As long as you make good music(or attempt to) and give it your all, and NOT MAKE STUFF UP ABOUT IT TO RATIONALIZE YOUR IGNORANCE TO LEARN THE BASICS...BUT anyways as long as your makin people happy and dance then its still got some ol' ways in it...cuz that is the REASON for southern singing, I don't care WHO wants to disagree and prove me wrong...that is it....the reason why we sing=make people dance, make em happy and have a good time.....A-HO!

                  so ya change...its here always will be..just got to deal with it....
                  bucwild2012

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                  • #10
                    Therefor, adapt, help improve or just as long as you have fun singing, then some of the original reason for singing is still there..which is to have fun, make people enjoy it, make people dance.

                    I agree.

                    I'm not a southern dude, but I love them songs. I wouldn't even notice if there was a change except for threads like this. My collection of old tapes do sound a bit different from the cd's of today. But........ when I hear recent Yellowhammer, Scissortail, Southern Boyz cd's.... the sound is all good ...... I want to hear more.

                    Changes will undoubtably occur. I have seen many changes in all aspects of powwows over the years.

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                    • #11
                      Right because, some change is not always bad....but then again...it can be pretty bad because you have to keep some tradition in order for it to be legit..the roots have to be the base of the change, so that it isn't just completely forming something new...but honestly if you listen to these new songs...each and EVERY one of them, have a sense of an olll song in them...I don't care how good of a songmaker you are or claim to be...honestly we don't make them..they are gifts..from them ol people...so now they are the same songs from back in the ol days..with some flashiness on em and they're like new right...that's just the way I was taught...but I'm nobody...just another seat at tha drum...
                      bucwild2012

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                      • #12
                        I think a lot of the problem is a lack of a proper person to teach them... and a lot just try and copy a) what they hear on the CD or b) what they've heard another group sing who probably learned it wrong.

                        Just think of some of your favorite songs and how easy it is to misinterpret songs in a language we speak every day, everytime my wife hears There's a Bad Moon Arising by CCR, she sings, "there's a bathroom on the right," because that's what she heard when she was a kid, and that's a song in English... LOL.

                        It's not so bad if you know some of the language and can understand what the words are, but when you guess at something you don't know, it's easy to screw it up and find yourself singing the words wrong, especially if you don't know it. My advice... don't guess, either sing it right or don't sing it, all you're doing is opening yourself up to a "pulling aside."

                        I got lucky enough to learn from an awesome guy who had learned at the center drum in OK and from his uncles that composed the songs he sang with his drum, but I know I'm lucky in this respect, and lucky enough to still be ale to call his family up with questions now that he's walked on. But there are a lot drums out there that either haven't had the same opportunity or simply don't care they are singing the words wrong.

                        I have pulled a friend of mine off to the side several times that is a lead singer of another drum in the area and tried sharing, but it hasn't worked, so I figure there's bigger and badder than me you can run up against that will correct you, and not be as nice as I have been. I hope that doesn't happen, he's a good friend, and more like an annoying little brother to me. Unfortunately that happens. Over this past season, I have seen other drums sing helushka songs for women's fancy, family songs as intertribals, and more than that that has made me roll my eyes, but I remember where I am.

                        As my friend used to tell me, no one can stop you from singing them songs, just when you sing them make sure you're singing them right and for the right occassion. I miss that guy, but that's what he shared with me, and figured I'd share it here.

                        My philosophy is if I know it and feel comfortable singing it, I'll sing it, if not, if I have any question on even a syllable, I either wait till I know for sure, or just continue to like the song on the cd when I hear it again, and leave it at that.

                        Just my 49 cents worth...

                        Paselo~
                        I became a singer because I love to sing... and to feed my addiction to cough drops!

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                        • #13
                          Red Sheild: I would have to agree with you. People don't always hear things the same. Unless you actually have a Tutor who either made the song, or truly knows the song you are hearing what you may not understand. Those who are taught these songs the right way should help those that are incorrect. Maybe after the dance is over and you're back in camp having a tall one(soda), You can teach the head singer the right way the song is supposed to be sung.

                          Getting the words wrong may be like saying, God thank you for the salt we drink instead of- God thank you for the water we drink. A`-Ma or A-Ma`. One can change the whole song with the wrong words or inflection. Usually the melody of the song will in general be OK. I will say that not being a singer I can pick out a drum who is playing with a song if not correct. Especially with honor beats and the ending.

                          I have tried to sing in the past to help out a friend, though I'm not a singer. I couldn't start a song if my life depended on it. I can barely start my own family song, that's why it is on tape several times. I can normally help to carry a song, though sometimes I may stray into a song that is similar at some point in the middle. Usually I'm no threat, so not many would know I was in error. I would get back on the right track real soon, especially with a real red face.

                          Anyways, a real good point. Those of you who really know these songs help out and teach not only the words, but give the source of the song, its meaning and the meaning of tje words that were sung wrong. This way the error is understood. Don't forget to just have fun!!!
                          BOB

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                          • #14
                            a lot of drums out here just don't care.

                            but im proud to say we[[Walking Bear Singers]] do A LOT of research on songs before we sing them.

                            some drums butcher songs just to say they sing them, and make them, i hate to say, STUPID, in the way to make them 'fun'. but its total b.s. i think a lot of drums need to learn respect, and learn the actual song before singing it in public.
                            Metasonya
                            only if you say so

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Metasonya120691 View Post
                              ....but im proud to say we[[Walking Bear Singers]] do A LOT of research on songs before we sing them.

                              some drums butcher songs just to say they sing them, ...


                              UHhhh Meta,

                              How does Walking Bear Singers research songs?
                              Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

                              Comment

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