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Kids' Pow-Wow Songs

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Album Review

Here is a recording project that is just a great, great idea. The masses who are regretfully naïve in the understanding of Native American music might interpret any sort of powwow music as sounding religious — or aggressive, if it is a John Wayne or Richard Widmark-type listener. But there are powwow songs about getting drunk, eating pizza, how pretty a girl looks, and a myriad of other subjects. What about an entire collection of these songs about subjects of interest to small children? It is just a delightful idea, and — at the risk of appearing sacrilegious — it is worth mentioning how interesting it is to mull over philosophical connections between the characters in some of these songs, the characters in Native American folk or religious tales, and the characters in the lore of the various organized religions collectively known to folks on the reservation as "the white man." These interpretations wind up giving cartoon characters a kind of dignity, making a Looney Tunes tribute as meaningful as an old Cherokee tale about a bunny and a cat. Children of all sorts might be interested in this recording because many of the songs are about characters such as Mighty Mouse, plain old Mickey Mouse, or the Flintstones. There is a song based on the "Kuma Matata" philosophy espoused in The Lion King. A powwow version of "Monster Mash" is also an idea that necessitates one-time-only use of the word "awesome." Again, this material could conceivably have real appeal for children, whether they have shown an interest in Native American music or not. In most cases, children are fascinated by powwow music, especially when exposed to it at a live powwow. A trip to such an event followed by acquisition of this CD would be a smooth move. Repertoire has hogged most of this appraisal, just because in this case the choices have led to a collection that stands alone in its individuality. The Black Lodge Singers sound superb, recorded with a clarity that is like a night on the desert. Kids' Pow-Wow Songs adds to what is already a great catalog of discs by this group.

Kids' Pow-Wow Songs, Black Lodge
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