Kiowa Dance Group Singers,
Traditional Kiowa Songs
(Canyon, 1998)

Traditional Kiowa Songs (Vol. 14 of the Canyon Records Vintage Collection) contains a good sampling of the traditional songs of these Plains people.

The liner notes provide details about the Kiowa history and culture, with sections for each of the song types to explain the history and significance of the songs in the Kiowa culture. (There is an interesting controversy over how the "49" songs got their names.)

I really like the Gourd Dance Songs best. They are at a lower pitch and have a moderate pace and soft drumming with prominent, distinctive-sounding rattles. (The rattles are created from aluminum salt and pepper shakers mounted on wooden handles.) There are some interesting vocal effects in these songs, especially the series of connected barks and yips that accompany the drum roll.

I also love the Horse Stealing Songs. These are executed almost like rounds, beginning with a solo male, picking up additional male singers, then adding the women. This is fascinating as the sound builds from a soft solo into a full-bodied song. So beautiful!

The members of the Kiowa Dance Group Singers are Bill Koomsa Sr., Billy Hunting Horse, Wilbur Kodaseet, Bill Koomsa Jr., Lonnie Tsotaddle, Georgia Dupoint, Ann Koomsa, Martha Koomsa Perez and Pearl Woodward.

This CD gives the listener an interesting introduction and overview to the musical culture of the Kiowa people. Anyone with an interest in Native American music should own this collection of beautiful songs.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 31 July 2004