Recording Culture : Powwow Music and the Aboriginal Recording Industry on the Northern Plains

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  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2012-11-12
  • Publisher: Duke Univ Pr
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Recording is central to the musical lives of contemporary powwow singers, yet, until now, their aesthetic practices when recording have been virtually ignored in the study of Native American expressive cultures. Recording Cultureis an exploration of the Aboriginal music industry and the powwow social world that supports it. For twelve years, Christopher A. Scales attended powwows-large intertribal gatherings of Native American singer-drummers, dancers, and spectators-across the northern Plains. For part of that time, he worked as a sound engineer for Arbor Records, a large Aboriginal music label based in Winnipeg. Drawing on his ethnographic research at powwow grounds and in recording studios, Scales examines the ways that powwow drum groups have utilized recording technology in the late twentieth century and early twenty-first, the unique aesthetic principles of recorded powwow music, and the relationships between drum groups and the Native music labels and recording studios. Turning to "competition powwows," popular weekend-long singing and dancing contests, Scales analyzes their role in shaping the repertoire and aesthetics of drum groups in and out of the recording studio. He argues that the rise of competition powwows has been critical to the development of the powwow recording industry. Recording Cultureincludes a CD featuring powwow music composed by Gabriel Desrosiers and performed by the Northern Wind Singers.

Author Biography

Christopher A. Scales is Assistant Professor of Ethnomusicology at Michigan State University.

Table of Contents

Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Introductionp. 1
Northern Plains Powwow Culture
Powwow Practices: Competition and the Discourse of Traditionp. 27
Powwow Songs: Aesthetics and Performance Practicep. 63
Drum Groups and Singersp. 112
The Mediation of Powwows
The Powwow Recording Industry in Western Canada: Race, Culture, and Commercep. 143
Powwow Music in the Studio: Mediation and Musical Fieldsp. 187
Producing Powwow Music: The Aesthetics of Livenessp. 212
Powwows "Live" and "Mediated"p. 241
Coda: Recording Culture in the Twenty-First Centuryp. 268
Appendix: Notes on the CD Tracksp. 282
Notesp. 289
Referencesp. 311
Indexp. 323
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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