Friday, February 1, 2013

Red Paint Powwow, Part 6: North and South and drum and Drum

Drum, Red Paint Powwow, Silver City, New Mexico

The Red Paint Powwow is an annual event in Silver City, New Mexico, hosted by the Chiricahua Apache. I attended the powwow on Saturday, January 19, 2013.

Part 6?! Who knew powwows were so complex? (And there's more to come!) 

I was surprised to hear the emcee refer to "northern" and "southern song" at the Red Paint Powwow. 

I thought I'd be doing one post on the northern/southern "song" and a separate post on "drumming," but it appears the two aren't really separable. I guess since the drummers are also the singers, it makes sense.

There were six Drums at the Red Paint Powwow. Until I researched this, I would have said there were six drumming groups, but apparently the group is the Drum in powwow parlance.

(I'll capitalize the word to denote the instrument and the accompanying group, and use small "d" to denote just the instrument.)

At the Red Paint Powwow, there was a host northern Drum ("Star Feather") and a host southern Drum ("Southern Outlawz").

Below is a video from Southern Outlawz:

And Star Feather:

I have my favorite - which is yours? 

The Drum immediately in front of me was called either "Cache Creek" or "Cash Creek." Since there was U.S. currency tucked into the group's instrument, maybe it was Cash Creek. I got kind of a smart-ass response from the Drum leader when I asked about the bills interspersed around the instrument.

The southern and northern songs have a different tonality and style as explained here: "Singing differs by region in that a high falsetto produced deep in one's throat is used in the north while in the south a lower range is used."

In the drumming, there is often a "faster beat in the north and a slower beat in the south." (From Encyclopedia of the Great Plains)

I invite you to listen again to the southern and northern Drums above and see if you can hear the higher v. lower and the faster v. slower.

I am happy to be learning more about powwows now so I'll be able to appreciate what I see and hear all the better when I go to the Gathering of Nations in April.

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