Send the link below via email or IMCopy
Present to your audienceStart remote presentation
- Invited audience members will follow you as you navigate and present
- People invited to a presentation do not need a Prezi account
- This link expires 10 minutes after you close the presentation
- A maximum of 30 users can follow your presentation
- Learn more about this feature in our knowledge base article
pow wow music
Transcript of pow wow music
The main part of powwow is the drum, it represents the heartbeat of the people. The drummers, singers, emcee, and dancers all move in relation to the drum. Music is at the core of powwow.
The main dances standard to all powwows are ladies’ and men’s tradition dance, ladies’ fancy shawl dance, and men’s grass dance.
Powwows frequently also include ‘specials,’ events which break up the sets of dance songs and may be storytelling and local dances.
Though these aspects of powwow across the United States have certain standard forms, tribes regularly add personal touches in the form of the stories they tell or the tribally-specific symbols they add to their regalia.
The concept of powwows goes back before European contact, but they were strictly clannish. The word powwow is derived from the Algonquian word “pau wau” meaning “he dreams” and is associated with medicine men and healing.
History-beginnings Though many tribes claim powwow began with their tribe, no one can say for certain when and where it began.
Many scholars believe that today’s powwow began in the warrior societies of the Omaha and Pawnee nations with their Heluska and Iruska dances with a considerable contribution from the Kiowa Gourd Dance society.
Other potential origins lie in traditional dream and medicinal societies, hence the name pau wau.
Modern intertribal powwows began in the 1880s with the establishment of Indian reservations but who first welcomed all tribes is debatable.
It is difficult to establish definite beginnings of the powwow celebrations because in the 1890s traditional Indian dances were illegal under the Bureau of Indian Affairs.
History-today With the Indian Relocation Act of 1956, Indians were offered grants to move to urban centers to find work. This act intended to assimilate Indians into American Industrial culture and end tribal reservation communities. These transplanted Indians formed intertribal neighborhoods where they shared their traditions with each other. The modern powwow began with these groups.
These powwows spread throughout the country and where everywhere by the late 1970s. Today powwows are held by Universities, colleges, tribal communities, and urban Indian centers.
Today over 1000 powwows are hosted annually and most of them are not held by tribes who practiced powwow before the 1960s.
Swan Dance, performed by Alpha Chapter of Alpha Pi Omega Sorority of UNC
music Powwow drum groups typically include four to ten men playing a central round drum with one man singing the lead part and the others following.
The lead singer sings the first line once then repeats it with the rest of the group before moving on to the next two lines. The second section is repeated once before the entire group begins that section again, often singing one pitch-step higher or lower.
Singing is most often in unison in the beginning and may break into harmony (usually octaves) after the first repetition.
This seems to be true for both Northern and Southern style drums, the two main styles of powwow music.
Powwow songs range from the ancient to the new, and drum groups typically perform a range of songs from a variety of sources. Songs typically fall in to a number of categories and dictate the type of dance which will follow.
Each drum has a lead singer and a "second" who repeats the lead line. The drum or drums are positioned around the edge of the dance arena. The singers are very important to the structure of the powwow, they sing several types of songs for all the different dances, honorings and events that take place.
Drums take turns and often a certain drum is requested for a particular song. Usually drummers are men, but women may also drum and sometimes an all women's drum group is seen.
Women commonly stand behind the drum singing along with the group. Some tribes believe that the gift of drumming was only for men.
At a powwow the drums play when the emcee calls their name out. The host drum is number one and sits closest to the announcer's stand.
Northern singing is a higher pitch than Southern.
Songs are sung four times, a sacred number in the Native American tradition.
Most songs have no actual words but are syllables, or vocables, that carry the melody and the meaning of the song. Some songs are sung in English or Native languages or in a combination of both.
Northern vs Southern Style Northern vs Southern drum music:
Northern style is high in pitch and has a thin, nasal quality along with a strong vibrato.
Southern style is similar in many ways but has a wider range and has a lower pitch.
Northern singing may also include women singers as well, though they almost never sit at the drum itself. Women, if part of the group, stand behind the drum and sing standing.
Setting The physical structure of the powwow setting is a circle, with the dancing arena in the center. It can be either outdoors or indoors.
The arena is blessed prior to the powwow starting and is considered sacred ground during the entire event and is treated with the respect given to a church.
The entries are on the four points of the compass, but usually the dancers enter from the east entrance. The announcer’s stand is usually to the west.
Around the outside edge of the dance arena is the circle of booth vendors selling food, arts, and crafts. Powwows are open to Natives and non-Natives. People bring blankets or chairs and sit around the edge of the arena.
Some rules of etiquette Pay Attention and Listen. The MC (master of ceremonies) can be heard via the sound system. He is coordinating the powwow and advises the visitors of additional protocol. Non-natives are welcome at powwow celebrations to learn and share in the cultural and social traditions but are expected to show respect and understanding for these events.
Never Refer To A Native American Dancer's Regalia As a Costume. Much thought, time, energy and expense goes into the making of each outfit. Often pieces of the regalia are family heirlooms. Regalia is created by the dancer or by a respected family member or friend. The feathers in particular are sacred and highly valued and cared for. Sometimes years have gone into the final completion of a dancer's regalia.
Never Touch A Native American Dancer's Regalia. If you feel the need to touch, always ask permission, and be gentle and considerate. Respect the personal space of dancers as you should for anyone else.
Use Courtesy and Respect When Photographing. The majority of Native American powwows are public events and taking pictures of the dancers during inter-tribal or during dance competition is usually acceptable. The MC will let you know when it will be absolutely not acceptable to take photographs. However, if you want a dancer to pose for you outside the arbor, always introduce yourself and ask permission. If you are a professional photographer or artist and feel you may use the image in the future for a commercial project, tell the dancer. Make sure it is OK with him or her and the safest bet is to ask if they will sign a model's release. Even if the photos are only for your personal use and not commercial, offer to send the dancer copies. They are usually happy to give you a mailing address so that you may send them photos.
Do Not Enter The Dance Arbor After It Has Been Blessed. At the beginning of the powwow festivities, the Dance Arbor is blessed. Walking or running into the Arbor is prohibited. The only time guests may enter the Arbor is to participate during Intertribal Dances, Round Dances, Blanket Dances or during an Honoring dance that the MC may announce. Don't cut across the Arbor just to get to the other side!
Stand During Grand Entry. The MC will announce the beginning of Grand Entry and will ask everyone to stand. The Native American Eagle Staff and American Flag will be brought into the dance arbor and you should remain standing during the Flag Song and the Invocation. The same is asked during the Veterans Songs and Closing Songs and when the Staff and Flags are taken out of the Arbor. Men should remove their hats during these times.
Have A Good Time! Above anything else, Native American powwows are social events. A time to see old friends and meet new ones. Don't be afraid to ask questions and engage in conversation with vendors, dancers, singers and other powwow participants. Enjoy yourself!
Gathering of Nations Internet Radio Southern Sun
Northern Drum group: Bear Creek
Southern Sun: :30 – 1:00
Bear Creek: :25 - :45
"I have noticed that everything an Indian does is in a circle, and that is because the Power of the World always works in circles, and everything tries to be round… Even the seasons form a great circle in their changing, and always come back again to where they were. The life of a man is a circle from childhood to childhood, and so it is in everything where power moves." --Black Elk Oglala Sioux Holy Man 1863-1950