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Something New Under the Sun: Review of A TRIBE CALLED RED

Posted By PowWows.com January 23rd, 2014 Last Updated on: January 23rd, 2014

Review by Dr. Dawn Karima, Music Editor

All over North America, Powwows are a pleasant fact of life for many Native Americans.  Whether social or contest powwows,  these gatherings allow tribal members and our allies to renew social ties, refresh our memories of our  culture and reify our ethnic identity.  A Tribe Called Red celebrates core of every powwow, the music, in its recent release A Tribe Called Red

The DJs who form  A Tribe Called Red hail from Ottawa, Canada.  Avid devotees of powwow music, they have all long been fascinated by the beats and rhythms of the drum.  So, DJ NDN, DJ Shub and DJ Bear Witness  sought a way to celebrate the sounds heard in the circle. They found one…and they named it “Powwow Step”.

Enjoy a video of A Tribe Called Red:

A primary purpose of powwows is dancing and A Tribe Called Red makes their music inherently a call to dance.   Strong songs, sustained by powerful leads and potent beats, recall the steps made in powwow dance arbors throughout the land.  A Tribe Called Red's DJ's display dexterity and dedication as they craft these traditional rhythms into dubstep dance tracks.

Yet, even as these songs invite listeners to the dance floor, they include others.  By incorporating the popular dance styles of the day, A Tribe Called Red makes Native music that is inclusive, rather than exclusive.  The result is their CD, A TRIBE CALLED RED.

View a video here:

This CD achieves the near-miracle of blending traditional and modern, powwow and pulsating dance, and old paths and electronic.  As a Native American woman, I drew strength from the song “Red Skin Girl,” which admires the unique, ethnic loveliness of tribal ladies.  Popular powwow drum Northern Cree sings the chorus, which lifts up Native women amidst a society that usually reduces us to stereotypes and sex symbols.  A poignant news story about a revered artisan who was shot by Seattle police, “Woodcarver”, combines scanner, sirens and static with Native tunes to tell a story that A Tribe Called Red sees as an example of  racial profiling and injustice.  “Electric Powwow Drum” is self explanatory and kick starts the CD with a blend of powwow power and percussion.  In a culture that is familiar with the forty-nine and the feelings of round dance songs, “Native Puppy Love” is a delightful treat.

While Native fans will revel in the familiar beats and vocables of powwow music, Non-natives  can also enjoy A Tribe Called Red's use of electronic dance music.  These talented DJs demonstrate diversity and creativity throughout their self-titled CD. As a result, A Tribe Called Red is  a delight for dance lovers and represents  a gem for dance lovers and powwow lovers alike.

 


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Dr. Miss Betty Velma Banda

MUSIC I CAN DANCE TO!! FINALLY!! THOSE OF OUR FUTURE GENERATION, AS WELL!! FUTURISTIC & ANCESTRIAL!! WHAT A GREAT COMBINATION. AND THEY SAID IT COULDN’T BE DONE!! GO FIGURE!!
“MAY HAPPINESS COME ON SECRET WINDS and SURROUND YOU IN ALL WAYS OF BEAUTY”………..
Many Blessings to you and yours and Thank You!!
Mother Earth’s Heartbeat will be heard and felt once again and we will all be the “tiny” dancers in Grandfather APA’s hands!!!! C-YA when I C-YA!! I.C.U.!!!!Forever & A Day!!

Dr. Miss Betty Velma Banda

Don’t get me wrong, I do respect the ways of the “Traditional ” dance by ALL means, BUT, and work with me here, we need to get our younger generation to come and be part of OUR APA’S NATION once again, how better than to get them to dance? And to music they can relate to!!!!
Women of Indian Nations (W.I.N.), GO FOR GUSTO!! I insist!!

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