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Lyr Add: Multilingual Native-American Medley

Haruo 10 May 06 - 03:48 PM
Jim Dixon 11 May 06 - 07:15 PM
Jim Dixon 14 May 06 - 01:34 PM
Jim Dixon 14 May 06 - 02:03 PM
Azizi 14 May 06 - 02:20 PM
Haruo 14 May 06 - 03:42 PM
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Subject: Lyr Add: Multilingual Native-American Medley
From: Haruo
Date: 10 May 06 - 03:48 PM

This was posted to the Chinook list yesterday. It's a "medley" - a quadrilingual song used in intertribal/interracial Christian worship in the nineteenth century in Washington Territory:

[CJ] Kah, O kah mitlite Noah alta?
[Skok] Dichad, dichad kaoway kleets Noah?
[Clal] Ahinkwa, ahinchees wia-a Noah?
[Eng] Far off in the promised land.

[Eng] By and by we'll go home to meet them.
[CJ] Alki nesika klatawa nanitch,
[Skok] Atsoi, atsoi hoi klishaydab sublabad,
[Clal] Ia chee hatl sche-tung a-whun.

The tune is said to have been "Hebrew Children", which I take to be a variant of "Reuben Reuben" or "Way down yonder in the pawpaw patch". The four languages are Chinook Jargon [CJ], the regional trade language used by natives and whites alike; Skokomish (or Twana) [Skok] spoken along Hood's Canal to the west of Puget Sound, Clallam (or s'Klallam, as they now prefer to write it) [Clal] spoken along the northern slope of the Olympic Peninsula, and of course, English [Eng], at that time spoken mainly by the white "illegal" immigrants.

The poster tentatively attributed it to Myron Eels, a missionary who was conversant with a number of the local languages in this area (He also compiled the largest dictionary of the Chinook Jargon, which still languishes in manuscript).

I'd be interested in learning of any other such intertribal medleys, Christian or otherwise. I know the early Moravian missionaries in Pennsylvania held polyglot singings of "In Dulci Jubilo" in which several tribal languages participated simultaneously, but this Northwest Coast item is the first such "macaronic" Indian song I've heard of.


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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Multilingual Native-American Medley
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 11 May 06 - 07:15 PM

When I'm in northern Wisconsin, I often listen to station WOJB, "Woodland Community Radio," which I believe is owned and operated by the Lac Courte Oreilles Band of Lake Superior Chippewa, and originates on the reservation.

I occasionally hear them play bilingual songs, but I haven't learned the names of the songs or artists and I can't even recognize the language(s). I don't think the language is necessarily Chippewa. Also, they're not necessarily old, or particularly Christian, although they are often spiritual in a broader sense.

My favorite time to listen, music wise, is Saturday evening, 7:30 pm to midnight, the Honky Tonk program, when they play mostly old country music. Occasionally they throw in a contemporary recording by an Indian artist.

Next time I hear one, I will pay attention and take notes.

Another site to check out is, a network that provides part of WOJB's programming.

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Subject: Lyr Add: INDIAN LOVE SONG (Buddy Red Bow)
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 May 06 - 01:34 PM

Here's one:

INDIAN LOVE SONG, by Buddy Red Bow, on "Journey to the Spirit World," 1982.

Woman, I love you and I need you so,
But, oh, I must go,
But don't you cry for me.
I'll be back just you wait and see.

Wherever I may go, wherever I may be,
You'll always be the one for me,
So don't cry for me.
I'll be back; just wait and see.

And at night before you go to sleep,
Please pray for me,
But don't you cry for me.
I'll be back; just wait and see.

[Those are just the English words. There are also verses in a language I assume to be Lakota. I don't think there is any point in my trying to transcribe what I don't understand.

[Though the lyrics may seem mundane, I assure you, Buddy Red Bow sings them with great passion and dignity.]

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Multilingual Native-American Medley
From: Jim Dixon
Date: 14 May 06 - 02:03 PM

Haruo: On re-reading your request, I'm not sure this is the kind of thing you're interested in. The song I quoted is partly English and partly (as far as I know) only one other language. You seem to be looking for songs that contain more than one Native American language.

Also, I'm not sure either of our songs fits the definition of "macaronic." The macaronic songs I have heard of before have verses in one language and a chorus or refrain in another. The song you quote has multiple languages within the verse (which I have not encountered before). The song I quoted has alternating verses in different languages.

Nevertheless, Native American music has seldom been mentioned at Mudcat, and I am happy to help expose it to more people.

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Subject: RE: Lyr Add: Multilingual Native-American Medley
From: Azizi
Date: 14 May 06 - 02:20 PM

On the topic of Native American music, see this excerpt from an online article:

[Patrick] Orozco is a faith keeper for the Ohlone, descendents of the original Costanoan Native American tribe that lived in an area stretching from just north of what is now San Francisco to Monterey, California.

Orozco said his grandmother told him: "You have learned all that was taught to me. Now you must go and ask other Indian elders that may know more. And after you have learned, you must go and teach our own, and then go and share with the non-Indians, so that they may know we are still here."

People of the Land

Following the direction of his grandmother, Orozco says he traveled throughout California to visit reservations, meet with tribal elders, witness sacred ceremonies, and learn the songs and stories that his people have told for millennia.

"There were songs for everything we had in life," he said. "We had great respect for the Great Spirit's creation. It all belonged to him. He is the creator. We had songs of coyote, deer, eagle, bear, bird."

Now, as he has for the past 18 years, Orozco—together with a song-and-dance group he put together called Ama Ka Tura, or "people of the land,"—shares this collected knowledge of the Ohlone with his own people and schoolchildren throughout California.

The songs serve as a reminder that the Ohlone are still here. "[I] am teaching our young and old all what I have learned," Orozco said. "And I can see that my elders and ancestors are smiling, for we are following their directions." ...

When Orozco began collecting the songs from elders throughout California, he found that many of the songs were only partially known, and oftentimes nobody knew their meaning. Through his work, he has pieced them back together.

"It has been a struggle," Orozco said, "but it was worthwhile."

Source: "Faith Keeper" Guards Native American Songs, Knowledge"
         John Roach for National Geographic News April 22, 2004

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Subject: Classic Macaronic Song - In dulci jubilo
From: Haruo
Date: 14 May 06 - 03:42 PM

For me the definition of a classic macaronic song is that (rather than alternating verses in different languages, or a stanza-in-one-and-refrain-in-another structure, the text moves from one language to another (and back) seamlessly within stanza and/or refrain, indeed even within a clause. For example, and I think it's the most famous, truly classic, example, take In dulci jubilo, which (although it's been mentioned many times) has apparently never had its lyrics posted on the Mudcat. So here they are:

In dulci jubilo.

The first verse of the quadrilingual "medley" I posted appears to me to be macaronic, but since I don't know Clallam I can't tell if the second verse is. The defining point would be whether the last line is a translation of the first three or a response to or extension of it. If merely a translation, it's not truly macaronic (for me); if a response or extension, then it is.



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