Music plays an integral role in the life of Native Americans. It is used for ceremonial purposes, recreation, expression, and healing. There are many different instruments used when making Native American music, including drums, flutes, and other percussion instruments. Perhaps the most important element of their music is the voice.
Vocals are the backbone of the music made in Native American cultures. Unusual, irregular rhythms and a somewhat off-key style of singing is used. No harmony is ever incorporated, although sometimes many people sing at once, and other times the vocals are solo. The Native American vocals are passionate, used to invoke spirits, ask for rain or healing, or are used to heal the sick. In most cases, the men and women of the tribes sing separate songs, and have their own dances. The men typically dance around in a circle, while the women usually dance in place.
Many researchers feel that Native American music is some of the most complex ever performed. The tensing and releasing of the vocals combined with varying drum beats makes it a very intricate form of art. Another interesting item of note is that every region of the country where the Native Americans had settled produced greatly varying forms and sounds of music. With so many different tribes, the music produced is always unique to its specific group. Generally, Eskimo music has been touted as being the most simple of all of the Native American music styles, while the Hopi, Pueblo, and Zuni tribes of the Southwestern part of the country have been known to produce much more complex sounding music. The emotion invoked from Native American music has been a great influence in modern folk music. In addition, tribal music is still very popular among music fans, and Native American CDs sell fairly well, even in today’s modern climate.
Thank You LCF and Schay~~~~So Beautiful. I have alot of dvd's I listen to also. Brook Medicine Wheel has alot of teaching songs also. I Love them ALL! Rainbows of Love and Blessings
Yes Lola, Brook Medicine Wheel will be coming soon, (((Hugs)))
I wanted to share this video for those of you that like to drum or like to listen to NA drum. The most important NA instrument was considered to be the drum. Traditionally they were and still are large 2-3 feet in diameter and are played communally by groups of men standing around in a circle. However in some tribes each musician has his own hand drum. According to NA tradition the drum is considered to be a living being and a sacred member of the family. Different types of hydes may be used to make them such as deer which represents gentleness or Elk which represents stamina.
If you are interested in drumming and want to buy a drum that is made by Native Americans in order to help support them there are several websites that sell them.
Love, Light and Harmony
Earth Medicine Thank you, Mother, for teaching me To lift my heart in praise, Filling my spirit with gladness For blessings of the Beauty Way. You have taught me how to sing, How to rejoice, dance, and drum, And how to sing my gratitude For the abundance that will come. You have shown me the magic of A change in mind and heart, An attitude made of wisdom That celebration of life imparts. I sing the truth of thankfulness When I greet Grandfather Sun, Then send my love to Mother Earth For the life force that makes us one. ~Jamie Sams~
Robbie Robertson and The Red Road Ensemble Music For The Native Americans Mahk Jchi (Heartbeat Drum Song) Translation:
Our hearts are full and our minds are good
Our ancestors come and give us strength
Stand tall, sing, dance and never forget who you are
Or where you come from
This beautiful ttraditional melody from Jemez Pueblo in Northern New Mexico was arranged by Robert's brother, Patrick Shendo Mirabal, who sings lead vocal.
Butterfly Song or "Tsel-mo-ah," is from a social dance for children, with some extra lyrics added by Robert... "Butterfly said, I am the keeper of the songs of healing; Butterfly said, I am the keeper of the songs of changing mother; Butterfly said, I am the keeper of the songs of true love and faith."
Dance my brothers, dance by sisters, we can change the world with song and dance!
Dance Schay, Dance!!!
give us hearts to understand;
Never to take from creation's beauty more than we give;
Never to destroy wantonly for the furtherance of greed;
Never to deny to give our hands for the building of earth's beauty;
Never to take from her what we cannot use.
Give us hearts to understand
That to destroy earth's music is to create confusion;
That to wreck her appearance is to blind us to beauty;
That to callously pollute her fragrance is to make a house of stench;
That as we care for her she will care for us.
We have forgotten who we are.
We have sought only our own security.
We have exploited simply for our own ends.
We have distorted our knowledge.
We have abused our power.
Great Spirit, whose dry lands thirst,
help us to find the way to refresh your lands.
Great Spirit, whose waters are choked with debris and pollution,
help us to find the way to cleanse your waters.
Great Spirit, whose beautiful earth grows ugly with mis-use,
help us to find the way to restore beauty to your handiwork.
Great Spirit, whose creatures are being destroyed,
help us to find a way to replenish them.
Great Spirit, whose gifts to us are being lost
in selfishness and corruption,
help us to find the way to restore our humanity.
That was Beautiful Aurora
Other songs that pull my heart strings are done by Sacred Spirit. Their music is a little westernized but to me it makes it more enjoyable.
I know what you mean...
Yeha Noha Eugene, wishing you happiness and prosperity also :o)))
This is dedicated to Saunders Bears Tail , Jr. "Flying Low", and to Iraq and Afghanistan War Veterans who never return
Andrew Vasquez is a member of the Apache Tribe of Oklahoma but also considers Wyoming and the Dakotas as home. He has been a flutist since the mid 1980's and has performed the world over.
Andrew was married at a very early age to Myra Weed, a member of the Shoshone tribe of the Wind River Reservation in Wyoming. They have been married for over twenty years. According to Andrew and Myra, "You could not find a couple with such opposite personalities and views." They believe that it is these differences that have made their marriage last. As Andrew puts it, "Without darkness there could not be sunlight. Everything in this world needs a balance."
Andrew Vasquez has long been known as an accomplished singer and dancer and in fact toured the world with the New York based American Indian Dance Theatre. It was while he was on tour with the group that Vasquez was introduced to the flute. He "made a trade" for a flute and began to fill in as a flutist for rehearsals. He was taken by the instrument and began to develop his own style and, eventually, his own compositions. Although Andrew doesn't play what are considered traditional compositions, he approaches all of his songs with a well-defined reverence and respect. He considers all flute playing a cultural contribution, be it for ceremonies, harvest, prayer, love songs or even putting children to sleep. Andrew composes all of his own songs and says everything he plays comes from his heart.