High Noon,
Songs for Our People:
Original Pow Wow Songs

(Canyon, 2002)

Songs for Our People: Original Pow Wow Songs is a collection of chant songs in the Northern Plains wailing style by High Noon. It is easy to understand why this group is one of the leading bands in its field. The drumming is outstanding and really makes them stand out.

High Noon creates all original works, based upon the traditional chant songs of their ancestors while incorporating bits and pieces that are representative of other Northern Plains nations. They are often compared to Northern Cree, the leading Northern Plains wailing chant songs performers. But if you listen to each group, you will find that High Noon utilizes many more changeups in rhythm and works with a back beat more often.

My favorite on this CD is the "Honor Song for the Late Roddy Kent No Runner." It begins with a solo drum lead-in and a lead singer, echoed by the group. The drum does a rhythm changeup to become an emphatic slow pulse. It speeds back up and the group replaces the emphatic drum with staccato vocals in a yipping form. This vocal roller coaster of changing volume and rhythm works into a highly charged emotional piece.

If you go to any pow-wow, you hear people asking for the Women's Fancy Shawl Dance. It follows that High Noon's "Women's Fancy Shawl Song" would be a favorite. Am I gender biased? Likely. But I thoroughly enjoyed this one and could easily imagine the dancing. The song is light and delicate, with a fairly fast pace, but does have a changing rhythm and dramatically slows to an end. This is a beautiful piece that makes you want to get up and dance.

High Noon was organized on the Cree Thunderbird Reserve in Saskatchewan, Canada. The band consists of Ted Noon, Ron Noon, Darryl Debassige (Ojibway), Terry Checkosis, Milton Noon, Craig Albert, Adrian Cross, Marlon Deschamps, Solomon Bull, Faron Lujan (Tiwa) and Marvin Thunderbird. They are the 2002 Gathering of Nations Drum Champions and are six-time Schemitzun Drum World Champions. All members not otherwise noted are Cree. They travel throughout the U.S. and Canada and are one of the most frequently requested Native American performance groups.

If you like this style of "wailing chant songs" be sure to get a copy of this CD. High Noon is a wonderful group with some of the best drumming to be found in the world. They have been crowned the world's best six times already, so you know they have to be great!

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 17 May 2003

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