Sacred Dance: Pow Wows Of The Native American Indians

Various Artists

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Sacred Dance: Pow Wows Of The Native American Indians Review

by Adam Greenberg

This is an album of powwow music since the revivalism of times in Native American culture. There are five groups featured on the album, representing different tribes and different approaches to the music. The Ojibwa Eyabay are the current champions of the powwow circuit, performing largely traditional forms. The other Ojibwa group of the album, Northern Wind, performs vaguely traditional (though contemporarily titled) music, with twists of more modern ideas added in ("Lovin' Feelin'" is, however, certainly not a Righteous Brothers work here). Dakota Travels present Sioux works and Earlwin B. Bullhead provides entirely traditional looks at song and hand drum music from the Lakota (Sioux) traditions. Finally, Young Grey Horse is a young group of musicians from the Blackfoot tradition who have thoroughly updated the music (though it probably won't seem too apparent to a first-time listener). With this spread of artists, cultures, and approaches, it's surprising how similar much of the music continues to be. Changes to the sound aren't on a grand-scale when artists renovate, only minor tweaks here and there. And of course, there's the ever-present one-beat that has always been the trademark of Native American music across cultures. This compilation seems a bit under-representative of Native American music as a whole, with vast swaths of tribes completely left out. Despite that, there's a pretty good look here at the few cultures that the album does focus on. As such, it's a pretty good introduction album to some of the Northern U.S tribes, specifically. Albums such as the Rough Guide to Native American Music may be more comprehensive, but have less depth. Pick this one up in tandem with other, broader albums. As a hidden treat for world music aficionados, listen to the "Straight Song" from Dakota Travels for something surprisingly similar vocally to some of the old Olatunji recordings.

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