Music was a prominent part of the Native American culture. The Native Americans had a tribal culture and each tribe had its own distinctive form of music. However there existed pan-tribal an intertribal genres of Native American music as well.
The music created by Native Americans was primarily based on the use of percussions accompanied by vocalization. Vocalization in this form of music took many distinct forms that included singing and chanting solo, choral, unison, responsorial and multipart.
Drums and rattles were the main percussion instruments used by the Native Americans. They helped to create a back beat for keeping a steady rhythm for the singers to keep timing. Generally the accompanying vocalization would consist of lyrics in the local language or non-lexical vocables that included sounds like chanting.
In past centuries Native Americans performed dance rituals for specific reasons. An enemy threat toward an Indian tribe led to a ceremonial gathering, where braves took part in a war dance while contemplating retaliation. The dance stirred emotions and filled the warriors with a profound sense of purpose as they prepared for battle.
Death Ceremonies – Native Americans celebrated death, knowing that it was an end to life on Earth, but, believing it to be the start of life in the Spirit World. Most tribes also believed, that the journey might be long, so after life rituals were performed to ensure that the spirits would not continued to roam the earth. Various tribes honored the dead in several ways, by giving them food, herbs, and gifts to ensure a safe journey to the after life.
The Hopi Indians believe that the soul moves along a Sky path westwards and that those who have lived a righteous life will travel with ease. However, those who haven’t will encounter suffering on their journey.
To ensure a safe journey, they wash their dead with natural yucca suds and dress them in traditional clothes.
Prayer feathers are often tied around the forehead of the deceased, and they are buried with favorite possessions and feathered prayer sticks. Traditional foods and special herbs are served and placed at the grave side.
This week let 3 Chics take you on a journey with our tribute to “FIRST NATIONS” people and Native American music. Through chants, drums, percussion, and dance, the music tells of their history of courtships, healings, meditation and spiritual rituals. With a mix of traditional, inter-tribal, and subgenre the transformative sounds and chants will definitely lift your spirits.
If you are of Native American heritage and would like to share lyrics, videos or chants, please feel free to do so. We love learning about artists, their intruments, and the contributions they’ve made to their tribes and our nation.