Peyote has long been used by Indians in Mexico and the American Southwest. More recently, plains Indians have begun using peyote as part of the Native American Church. There are two types of ceremonies: the Christian cross-fire ceremony and the traditional moon-fire gathering ceremony, both of which use music.
PEYOTE CEREMONIAL SONGS documents the music that is sung by the Road Chief. The Road Chief oversees the all nighttime peyote gatherings. Listeners will hear two instruments--a drum and a rattle--accompanying the various solo singers on this disc. The drum symbolizes the heartbeat of the worshippers, while the rattle represents the mind and thoughts of each practitioner. Further, the tiny stones inside the gourd rattle embody the voice of the spirit world. Overall, this album features songs used at various points during the ceremony. For example, "Opening Prayer Song" initiates the rite while "Midnight Water Song" is a prayer sung midway through the event. The "Sunrise Song" finalizes the gathering. Overall, PEYOTE CEREMONIAL SONGS offers a glimpse into the little-understood world of pejuta or strong medicine. And in general, these examples give listeners an opportunity to hear Native American music in its purest form.