Tuesday, April 10, 2007
Rants and Dance
It's an interesting notion that North America was experiencing the same type of growing pains birthing civilization that Europe had gone through just 3000 years prior.... And then the white man showed up!
As the title of the album suggests, this is a collection of cermeonial and war dances performed and recorded by several different tribes. There are various recordings of the Sun Dance on this album. In 1910, the US Bureau of Affairs had deemed that the Sun Dance was unfit to be performed by any tribes as part of the ritual entailed a type of self-torture. Two parallel slits were cut into the skin and under this strip of skin ran a stick, from which a string was tied to a pole. The participant would pull against the string until the skin gave way. The Sun Dance was forbidden by law until 1934; at which point, the ritual was put back into practice in a slightly modified form.
A common point of reference for most people is the war dance and, in particular, the scalp dance, as these were displayed in vigor during a celebration of a war victory. Each warrior would use his dance to illustrate his deeds in battle and actually repeat the motions of combat he had endured. The songs were cheerful and the rapid beat to a high-toned drum would lead way to light and fast footwork.
Despite the seeming spontaneity of most of these dances, they were formal ceremonies based on a body of sacred myths. Most of the dances performed on this record were actually dramatized prayers and were very disciplined. Every movement and step was rigorously rehearsed and it was a concerted effort by all- emphasizing that the most important aspect of the ceremony was the perfect performance in union.
American Indian Ceremonial and War Dances