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Family or Individual Songs

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  • Family or Individual Songs

    Ok lets see how we do with this question.

    I would like to get some information on what should be done if someone sings your family song. With that in mind, as a head singer, what if I lead a family or individual song that is on the drum, what does one do when they approach you?

    I would like to see ALL of your thoughts on this board. Because I have heard of about 8 different ways. I know each tribe might have their own way.

    I usually tell them where learned the song from and who told me about it. If I did not know it was a family song then, I have learned something new and walk away with that in my head. But I have come to learn, that just because someone says that it is their song it could also be owned by 3 other familys.

    The Big Indian

    "Just because your Indian, doesn't mean you know everything there is to know about being Indian."

  • #2
    Most of the time I have seen them stop the song. But you also have songs that one side says it was put in the drum and let it be sung and then you get the other side that says it never was put in the drum and stop the song. It is a hard call unless you know the family and it's history. It is a hard call for a singer. Sometmes it is the only song that comes into you head and won't leave.

    [This message has been edited by Beth (edited June 20, 2000).]


    • #3
      i was told you need to know those songs and who they belong to before you shold sing them. most of my relatives that are singers spent a few years learning these songs. if you affend someone you should aknowledge your mistake and pay for it. just walking away is considered to be rude in some ways
      we all make mistakes you pay for them and go on because now it is behind you. so my uncle as always told me. thats what i know about it


      • #4
        Just because you learn a song and know who it does or doesn't belong to doesn't mean that that is going to be the same forever. Songs are frequently given away to new people or put back in the drum for people to sing. It happens all the time. It is a never ending thing just keeping up with whose song belongs to who, what songs are in the drum and what songs are 'no-nos' to sing. So if you make a mistake, be honest, apologize and learn from it. One thing to note is that just because a song belongs to someone doesn't mean that you can't sing it. There are lots of song sung at powwows that belong to families or individuals. I have seen them stop the drum after their song and say I that they appreciated that song being sung and they'll give away. Song just try to know what you are singing and if you make a mistake, learn from it.

        Yer Moderator <>>>(:-)
        The responses are my own opinion and you know what they means.


        • #5
          I know this is an old topic, but I happened to be scanning through, and it struck an interest in me. What if the song you are singing is a fairly common song that is sung fairly often? For instance, as far as Ponca Songs are concerned, songs like Standing Buffalo's Song or No Ear's song were once considered as songs that weren't supposed to be sung, and this was not too long ago. I can remember a time in the past 4 years when I was sitting at the drum, and a fairly knowledgeable singer led one of those songs out. Everyone at the drum gave him one of those "What the hell are you thinking?" looks. Also, the Kaulaity Family lays claim to "Charlie Brown", a common gourd dance song that is generally sung at the end of the gourd dance. What is the proper protocol for singing these songs? What should one do when he is approached by one of these families after singing a song which he percieved to be "in the drum", so to speak? Also, can anyone think of some other songs that fit this category of family songs that are sung quite often but may not be meant to be sung?



          [This message has been edited by SouthernSinger (edited August 27, 2000).]


          • #6
            One of the songs you mentioned belongs to a friends family. If they think the drum is
            that knowledgeable, they can make a request of the drum that the song not be sung during that dance. The request should be honored.


            • #7
              Being the keeper of a very young drum, this struck me as a drum that I previously sang on has been acused of singing songs they had no right to.And as my brothers and I wish to do this in a proper way is their any suggestions or advice that anyone would wish to share with us, it would be greatly appreciated .


              • #8
                I know that i was always told if i heard a family song at a powwow and no family member had asked for it then i was to stop the song. THankfully i haven't had to. And for as the Standing Buffalo song i asked when i went back home and i was told it is NOT on the drum. That is my family. I have always felt that family songs should just be left alone. I relaly don't see why they need to be sung other than when called upon. These are just my humble opinions.


                • #9
                  Oh but Standing Buffalo is such a good song. I have known and still know some of the family. I respect their wishes. But you have a ot of singers and drums that tape songs and have no idea what or who. It used to make Abe mad. Have heard many a lecture on the subject from many Ponca singers.


                  • #10
                    it doesn't matter how pretty the song is, if its not on the drum, it shouldn't be sung unless asked for PERIOD. Its the "well its a pretty song so why can't we sing it" attitude that makes many native people not like white people at the dances. There are a lot of songs out there, and when learning songs, if you're not taught the words, don't sing those songs, to some people, its insulting for you to sing (just an example) a Ponca song and when asked the words, all you know is, "well it sounded like ___ on the tape" You should know the words if you're gonna sing it


                    • #11
                      Just because a song needs to asked for to be sung, does not make it less liked or a good song. Their is a Verteran's song that has to be requested. That doesn't change the
                      power of the words or the fact that it is one hell of a song. The fact that these songs can only be sung when asked for makes you appreciate them even more.


                      • #12
                        I think you misunderstood what I posted, the point was, yes, they are pretty songs, but that doesn't mean they should be sung whenever just because they are pretty or have powerful words. Basically, some of those songs are "property" and should be thought of as that.


                        • #13
                          No one is disputing that one bit. Mine was not put in the drum and I would not like to hear it sung generally. The same holds true for any song.


                          • #14
                            That's why if there is ANY question of whether or not a family song is on the drum or not...then it should NOT be sung. As I have stated before, I really don't see why anyone would want to sing someone else's family song. My family has quite a few songs and I don't think I would appreciate hearing them sung somewhere I just happened to pop up at.And yes, it does bother me to hear that "welll...part of the family said it is on the drum....." Doesn't matter. Just DON'T sing it.


                            • #15
                              Good point txstar, I believe that if you dont know what youre singing dont sing it.

                              The expressed opinions above are not particularly the opinions of the author's friends, family, or employer.


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