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Ever been told by a non Indian that you're singing the song wrong?

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  • Ever been told by a non Indian that you're singing the song wrong?

    ____

    As I travel throughout Indian country, I have heard more and more Indian people saying they have been corrected by non Indians on their singing. Tribal members have been corrected in singing their own tribal songs.

    Granted, there are non Indian singers who do their homework.

    What's your take on this?
    Powwows will continue to evolve in many directions. It is inevitable.

  • #2
    I think non-ndns should be very careful of who they tell that too if anybody. Sometimes its best to just sit there and suck it up.

    But then again, wrong is wrong. I have heard many young singers complain that elders will not tell them the correct words or teach them the songs so I guess you got to get the informationf from somewere. I just guess its a shame it has to be like that.

    Comment


    • #3
      Interesting subject but not surprising that non natives would tell us that we're singing the song wrong. After all, don't they know what's best for us? lol

      Some of the songs are different sounding than that which are sung at home. That's because groups tend to put their own spin on songs. Maybe that's what the non natives hear?
      Even from my dad's generation to mine the dialect has changed somewhat so what sounds wrong to non natives may just be evolution and they missed it?
      Anyway, what was their purpose in telling, to put us on the right path?

      Comment


      • #4
        Being a non-indian, i thinnk its wrong. Its not my call. the only people i would correct is another non-ndn group, preferably younger.

        Im open to critcism myself, I dont mind. But if your gonna correct ME you HAVE to be right yourself. I used to get nervous or unsure of myself when I was corrected and thought THEY were wrong. I used to doubt myself figuring that "if they had the nerve to correct ME then I MUST be wrong" Not the case. I have heard some wacky things from other people. At the same powwow I was praised by an actual Lakota singer. He said we were singing better than him! (who would you beleive?)
        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


        • #5
          Thats a interesteing question. Now I would never do that, cause I do not know much about singing or songs. Plus I am non-indian its not my place. Indians can sing songs where they want to its there culture, as long as the person singing the song knows what it means and are sure there singing it at the right time. From what i have been taught there a right time and place for every song.

          But I do know non-indians who have been around for years and have a vast knowleage of songs who will say something if a wrong song is done, but will do it respectfully...
          If I do not know the answer someone else will!!!!
          Also forgive me, this system does not have a spell check so forgive the bad spelling

          Comment


          • #6
            First off, Indians can't sing the song wrong. It may be different from the last generation, but it is Indian. Some good intentioned folks come to OKlahoma after studying and listening to tapes for years and it confuses them things are not they way they learned them. Times change. Yeah; I miss my uncle Joe Rush and Grandpa Albert Waters singing. But thats cause that is how I grew up. Its modern times, and things change. This is a living culture. My only criticism is today the words can get messed up. Not many native speakers left, so maybe they don't know exactly what they are saying, but they all try pretty hard and almost all know the story behing the song.
            Any way non-natives need to be careful in criticism. The should have learned manners before they learned to sing, ya think.
            My bark is worse than my bite

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            • #7
              I personally belief, if anyone has the right to tell an Indian they are singing the song wrong, it is the orginator of that song, or another Indian.

              No one else has that right to tell us what is wrong or right, but our own.
              Ezaasakwaadek-bkwezhigan ndaa miijin

              ~Though I wear a shirt and tie
              I'm still part red man deep inside!~
              <Paul Revere and the Raiders>

              A very wise old Chief (Archie Mosay) once said to listen carefully when a White man tells you specifically that he won't do this or that, because more often than not he is telling you EXACTLY what he IS about to do.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by WhoMe
                ____

                As I travel throughout Indian country, I have heard more and more Indian people saying they have been corrected by non Indians on their singing. Tribal members have been corrected in singing their own tribal songs.

                Granted, there are non Indian singers who do their homework.

                What's your take on this?
                there is more than one way to sing a song.............
                I know this white guy who sings... He tries to act like he knows it all... He goes around kissing a$$ and takes his tape recorder everywere he goes... I personal don't agree with his attatude... no shame no honer. He's always quick to call someone pahbee.... I wouldn't ever listen to white guy trying to correct me.....could you imagine me correcting a white man about his scottish heritage? Don't belive everything you read white folks...
                Dayum I make some keen DrumSticks!!!!!!sigpic

                Comment


                • #9
                  Told by a non Indian I was doing the wrong dance!!

                  OKI.
                  I can imagine how you felt when told by a non Indian that you were singing the song wrong,since something like that happened to me about 4 years ago at work. The school I was teaching at had an open house where all of the staff was introduced, then an honor dance was held for us. A non Indian science teacher (from RUSSIA via CALIFORNIA) started lining up people around here for a round dance. Maybe people in another place do that for an honor song, I don't know; so I shook my head NO, and used my hands to motion we were going around the gym as group. After the open house was over, she asked me "Why couldn't we do a round dance, I like them, what's wrong with that"? My reply was, "That's not how it's done".

                  Needless to say, it was the beginning of an interesting and at times especially trying 187 days of life. I grew a lot spiritually that year and am grateful for the experience; I learned that things don't happen to me, they happen for me!

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    singing wrong

                    I never heard singers discussing their thoughts on whether they sang a song right or not. I anyone told me that I would have to go back to who I learned it from and I probably wouldn't give it a second thought. As far as a non-indian correcting me I would probably laugh at him.
                    G

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                    • #11
                      We were singing once and a non-Indian came up and told my buddy that he sang a song wrong. My friend quickly informed him that he had composed the song we sang so how could it be wrong? The non-Indian guy just squirmed away. Too funny! But yeah, anyone should be careful to correct someone, no matter what ethnicity. Make sure you are correct before you put your foot in your mouth.
                      I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        LOL!!!!! Since day one, the non-NDN have been saying we are wrong and they are right!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          The flip side to this is a person from a tribe where a song originates correcting a drum group not from that tribe. I was at a pow wow in South Carolina (first mistake) a few years ago and heard a Lakota song sung at an inappropriate time using wrong words. The drum group was from some state tribe or some unrecognized group...not sure.

                          I didn't get mad, but simply approached the head singer nicely and in private away from his singers and the crowds and explained to him about the song they sung and what the actual words are. They were singing a grass flattening song for a crow hop. Instead of the sioux phrase "Kokipa pelo (they fear it)" they were saying buffalo. Slur the sioux phrase and it can sound like the english word buffalo, but that ain't the word in the song.

                          Anyhoo, the guy argued with me and said it was another version. I said, well, there are many grass flattening songs out there and several that sound very similar, but they aren't to be used as crow hop songs and there aren't any that have english words in them.

                          I got tired of trying to talk to this guy like he was a real singer so I finally said, "Fine. I was trying to be nice and I've said what I had to say in a nice way and all you've done is argue and try to act like an idiotic thug. So, go ahead. Sing the song again. Have at it. But, if you do, I'm going to go straight to the mic and challenge you guys publically and ask you to come up in front of everyone and explain the song, its meaning, and those words."

                          I walked off smiling and he just stood there with his mouth open.
                          I think everyone on this rez is addicted to Harry Potter...lol...

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Many songs sound the same now. I guess we are running out of tunes. I know a lot of old time lakota songs that have either the same lead or the lead may go up at the end instead of down. It can throw off a good singer.

                            This past weekend a southern drum sang a memorial song and the lead was the exact lead to Howard Bad Hands "Howards Concerto". AND THAT IS A NOT SO EASILY DUPLICATED LEAD.

                            Things are changing. I learned old time songs, new drums sing these same songs with a twist now. I can sit with a new drum and sing an old song and be totally off of how they are singing it. I can adapt tho so it isnt that bad.
                            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


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Singerdad
                              The flip side to this is a person from a tribe where a song originates correcting a drum group not from that tribe. I was at a pow wow in South Carolina (first mistake) a few years ago and heard a Lakota song sung at an inappropriate time using wrong words. The drum group was from some state tribe or some unrecognized group...not sure.

                              I didn't get mad, but simply approached the head singer nicely and in private away from his singers and the crowds and explained to him about the song they sung and what the actual words are. They were singing a grass flattening song for a crow hop. Instead of the sioux phrase "Kokipa pelo (they fear it)" they were saying buffalo. Slur the sioux phrase and it can sound like the english word buffalo, but that ain't the word in the song.

                              Anyhoo, the guy argued with me and said it was another version. I said, well, there are many grass flattening songs out there and several that sound very similar, but they aren't to be used as crow hop songs and there aren't any that have english words in them.

                              I got tired of trying to talk to this guy like he was a real singer so I finally said, "Fine. I was trying to be nice and I've said what I had to say in a nice way and all you've done is argue and try to act like an idiotic thug. So, go ahead. Sing the song again. Have at it. But, if you do, I'm going to go straight to the mic and challenge you guys publically and ask you to come up in front of everyone and explain the song, its meaning, and those words."

                              I walked off smiling and he just stood there with his mouth open.

                              state tribe or unrecognized group? what does that have to do w/anything? if you're going to say state lump federal right on in there......... b/c they can make mistakes too.........
                              No one can make you feel inferior w/o your consent-Eleanor Roosevelt

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