various artists,
Traditional Music from Warm Springs
(Canyon, 1998)

Traditional Music from Warm Springs, volume 11 of the Canyon Records Vintage Collection, is a collection of songs from the Warm Springs Reservation in northcentral Oregon. This reservation is home to persons from 14 tribes, with the majority being from the Wasco, Northern Paiute and Warm Springs. These peoples are known collectively as the Confederated Tribes.

These ladies use very little or no drumming. When they are accompanied by a drum, it takes on a background quality and is not prominent or overpowering. The listener can appreciate the vocal quality and wonderful harmony of these women without trying to project past a pounding drum. It is interesting to note that at the time of this recording, Susan Moses was 90 years old and still teaching Native language classes to the first three grades in school. The women wanted to do this CD as a way of preserving these traditional songs, many of which are quite old.

My favorite of the songs is "Flaming Arrow Song." It has a most interesting vocal slur from high to low notes. It is a complete fall off that ends in a soft held note before picking up the tune again. This song has a wide variety of intriguing vocal techniques and volume changes. It simply mesmerizes the listener! There is also a hand bell that adds tremendously to the composition. The "Butterfly Dance Song" has an ending that will surprise and amuse you. It is so beautiful!

The songs are performed by Ellen Squiemphem, Susan Moses, Bernice Mitchell, Ada Sookit and Adeline Miller. The songs included are "Flaming Arrow Song," "Bunny Hop Song," "Peace Pipe Song," "Teepee Creeping Song," "Lonely Hearts Song," "Serpent Dance," "Willow Dance Song," "Welcoming Song," "Fast Shuffle Dance," "Cougar Dance" and "Hobo Round Dance."

This CD is a must have for anybody with an interest in Native American music. These ladies come together so beautifully and create several unusual musical techniques. They are definitely a rarity and their music is a treasure. I absolutely adore every one of their songs and use them as background music for relaxing or studying.

- Rambles
written by Alicia Karen Elkins
published 30 August 2003

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