September 22nd, 2015 Last Updated on: September 22nd, 2015
Popular Piikani Powwow Singers North Stone Singers share their unique style across the Powwow Trail. As a family group, their drum features strong leads and special ties.
Q) Mighty singing! Share your tribal background with us please?
A) Well we come from the Blackfoot tribe here in Alberta. We are part of the Blackfoot confederacy part of the treaty 7 here in Alberta. There are 5 tribes that come from the treaty 7 and they are Piikani, Kainai, Siksika, Tsuu Tina , The Stoneys. We come from Piikani.
Q) How does your srong heritage influence your music?
A) Well we are a family based drum group. Were all Bad Eagle brothers. We come from a very strong spiritual/ceremonial family. Right from our dad Eddy James, our late grandfathers James Bad Eagle and his brothers and our great grandfather Pat Bad Eagle. All of them were pipe holders, bundle carriers and Sundance people. Our late grandfather James and our dad Eddy James taught us to sing at a young age. On how to respect and honor our grandfather drum. To live a alcohol and drug free life. That powwow and our traditional ceremonies go hand in hand with each other.
Q) What are some of the ways that those dear teachings appear in your drum group?
A) Every time before we sing we always offer tobacco on are drum to sing for those that are sick, our loved ones, the elderly, those that are lost, those that have lost loved and for all everyone that needs prayers. For that is the reason why we love to sing. To help those in need.
Q) As you sing, are their some precious memories that you can share with us?
A) Our favorite powwow memory and highlight for us will have to be two years ago at Brocket powwow. We entered the singing contest with just a two man crew. They had 15 places in the singing contest and their were 18 competing drums. Every drum group had 8 to 12 singers around the drum. And all we had was just two. Well when the powwow ended we were surprised that we took tenth place that year with just a two man crew.
Q) Incredible! That's cool!
A) Yes. One of the drum groups that we idolized growing named Seekaskootch was there set up right beside us that weekend. They gave us some encouraging words and told us to keep it up. So that was a plus!
Q) Just as they encouraged you, why don't you take a moment and share some uplifting advice for youth just starting out?
A) Our advice to all the youth who want to sing powwow. Never give up. Always work and try your best. Practice makes perfect.
Q) What are the names of your singers and how can folks connect with you and hear your music when they aren't on the Powwow Highway?
A) Well the names of the singers are. Patrick Bad Eagle. He is the lead singer of North Stone. Jay Bad Eagle, Blaze Bad Eagle, Sidney Bad Eagle, Bobby Bad Eagle, Merlin Bad Eagle, our father Eddy James Bad Eagle (drum boss), Sean Chief moon and Riley Big Sorrel Horse. How you can connect with us will be through Patrick Bad Eagle. Or through the North Stone Facebook page. And how you can get ahold of our cd will be through one of the singers.
Q) How did you start singing as a family?
A) When we first started out singing, there was just the three of us. That consisted of our dad Eddy James and his sons Patrick and Jr Bad Eagle. At that time we went under that name Little Red Bird. We are from the Piikani Nation Brocket Alberta Canada. Later on we would have our other Bad Eagle brothers join us.
Q) A good start! A strong family! Then, how did you continue your journey down Powwow Highway?
A) In 2006 we started using the name North Stone. As little boys singing at the drum, we idolized Northern Cree, Blacklodge, Red Bull, Seekaskootch, Whitefish Jrs, Wild Horse, Highnoon, Blackstone and there's all more drums that we can name that we looked up to.
Q) Now, many look up to you! What do you think makes your drum unique?
A) We are a contemporary style drum group. We live an alcohol and drug free life style. Our late grandpa James Bad Eagle who was one of the main people that taught us to sing powwow at a young age along with our dad. He use to tell us that it only takes two to sing. One to lead and the other to pick up. That was our motto that we went by growing up. A lot of the time it was just two of us singing at powwows. We got known for just having a two man crew at powwows.
Q) How intriguing! What else would you like us to know that distinguishes your drum from other drum groups?
A) We love to sing at powwows cross Canada and the United States. In the winter time we like traveling to round dances. We love to share our music with people. We welcome anyone at our drum to sing with us.
Q) You influence others to dance and to enter the Circle. So, who influences and exhorts you now?
A) We'd like to thank our families who have always been our number fans and encouraging along that way. And all the people who shared kind words with us. Our drum brothers through out powwow country.
Q) Lovely words and lively music! Thank you!
A)We look forward to making new friends through out our travels. Aho.
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