various artists,
Hopi Butterfly
(Canyon, 1998)

Hopi Butterfly was recorded live in Hotevilla Village at Third Mesa, Arizona, in 1967. It is the first commercially released recording of the Butterfly Dance, an annual Hopi social dance of thanksgiving for the harvest that occurs in August. The primary dancers are young women wearing ornate headdresses.

This CD is Volume 3 in the Canyon Records Vintage Collection. It is available as a single or as part of the set.

It is unusual because the selections are not titled or explained. Instead, they are simply parts of the Hopi Butterfly Dance. There are six representative parts of the all-day ceremony, rangubg from 2:42 to 10:26. The total run time is 34:27.

This ceremony has tremendous, overpowering rattles with strong drums. The beat is fast and irregular. There are many short pauses and delayed beats. The percussion follows the singing instead of establishing a regular beat. It is used in an emphatic manner.

This recording has all the sounds of the ceremony, including the audience. There are people talking and yelling, kids squealing and plenty of other noise. It is like you are actually sitting in the audience with the squealing kids.

The inside of the cover provides a detailed explanation of this ceremony and tells about the Hopi people and their history and culture. It is like getting two magazine articles along with the music.

This recording has value as a collector's item because it is a historic recording. But if you want to hear the actual singing clearly, this is not a good choice. At some points, the audience noise blurs the singing. It is my least favorite of the Canyon's Vintage Collection for frequent listening, although I do appreciate its historical value.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 19 April 2003

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