Monday, April 27, 2009

Comanche Peyote Songs Vol. 1 (Indian House, 1969)


Joy Niedo & Roe Kahrahrah - The sun's up now. It's time to get up.








I kind of feel like this review doesn't have to be much more than "This is a record where Comanches get high on peyote and sing songs." Because it's pretty self explanatory and I'm pretty sure you're gonna know whether or not you like it based on the title alone. But if you need more than that, I shall indulge you.

Pretty minimal stuff. Almost every song features a single drum and rattle accompanying a single singer. Occasionally a second or third person will join in if they know the words. Very repetitive and hypnotic although nothing that sounds intrinsically peyote related. If the title wasn't so revealing, I probably would never guess that the singers were inebriated. But knowing that they are is half the fun. Either way, though, this is some mesmerizing music that is truly awesome even when you disregard the novelty factor.

These are all morning songs, which means that the Comanches start partying at sundown, smoking, praying, singing, and eating peyote until the sun comes up. "The coming of early dawn after this long, arduous night is frequently a source of great inspiration to the participants. Many of the dawn songs are composed at this time, and some of the most inspiring singing is performed."

Download

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Please DO NOT speak on topics of which you obviously have no knowledge, experience or authority. Comanche people like many Native people on this continent are practitioners of the Native American Church religion. These are the songs accompanying that ceremony.

Your diatribe shows a lack of respect of the songs which continue despite religious persecution, an experience which you most assuredly will never experience in your suburban, pampered existence.

Please be respectful and refrain from promulgating your ignorance. We'd all appreciate it! Thank you!

mrseskew said...

I take personal offense to the negative comments made. For one, the men who enter the tee-pee are those of honor, stature and who are basically prayer warriors on behalf of the tribe.
The only reason that these rituals are seen as "partying" are because the europeans who invaded our land decided to misuse the peyote and turn it into an awful drug (when used incorrectly). However, Native American Church members only use it to sustain hunger through the night while fasting and praying. The songs are not hypnotic but are repetitive in keeping with the 4x's traditional rules. I would also appreciate it if you would not take this topic out of context seeing how you OBVIOUSLY know nothing about it.
Thank you!

Anonymous said...

i do not understand why people sell the songs. i wonder if the songs were made to be sold or if they were for a specific purpose at the time it was origionally made. i feel so bad for the native tribes to sell out so much so often for a few bucks.

Justin Snow said...

I always encourage constructive comments on my blog. But did any of you even read my review? Not once did I make a single offensive remark about the music, the ceremony, Comanches, or Native Americans in general. I appreciate both the music and that this record exists in the first place. If you have any problems with the fact that a recording was made of Comanches getting high on peyote, please don't ream me out for it. I'm merely enjoying and sharing what is essentially a field recording from 1969.

Anonymous said...

again, the songs are nice but why would you or anyone try to make a few bucks on some sacred ceremonial songs? do you have a clue as to what the songs mean, who made it, who it was for? or, are you trying to get credit for a nations spiritual songs? take a bowel.

Justin Snow said...

This blog doesn't make me a dime. There is no advertising on this blog and I write these reviews as a way to share interesting music. And again, if you have a problem with other people profiting from the recording of Comanche ceremonies, please don't complain about it here.

Also, I don't see how you think I am taking credit for any of this just because I am talking about music somebody else made and published. I clearly credit the record label (Indian House) and the people who sing on the song I shared (Joy Niedo & Roe Kahrahrah).

As for why this music was made, I only have as much information as is shared in the liner notes of the record. "As practiced by the Comanche today, a peyote meeting may be held for general prayer, to help someone who is sick, or to give thanks for a particular event, such as the safe return of a serviceman from overseas, or for someone's successful recovery from a serious illness. A meeting is held in a specially prepared tipi, usually on a Saturday night, beginning just after sundown, and ending after sunrise the next morning. The evening is inter-mixed with prayer, smoking, and singing." That's as much context as anyone who bought this record would have. If you think it's not enough, take it up with the record label, who, by the way, claims they are "a label committed to respectful, selective, high-quality recordings of traditional American Indian music."

Anonymous said...

Justin,

Are you related to david a. yeagley? just curious. He also has a knack for putting down the Indians in every way he can. After his rendention of a Spiritual Comanche Hymn using stupid white opera singers, no one could tell it was a Comanche hymn, he just wanted to use "COMANCHE" to the fullest and he is still doing that type of thing using "COMANCHE' at every opportunity, while actually denegrating their traditions for the love of the almighty $ and to impress the White Eyes!

You must be his relation!

Anonymous said...

Justin,

The inside of the labe would sufice anyone who are familiar with Niedo and Karahrah. Real Indians don't mind paying for these(but more often they are given to others) because we appreciate the lost art of composing songs by the elders of the Comanche Nation who have gone on...we apreciate the endurance of the Peyote the men who sang thru the nite and the prayors that accompany the meetings. The meetings are held for Prayer, the family usually wants special Prayers and its done!

Like yeagley, you gave your opinion and then try to make amends after spouting negativness, anyone could see that! You need to apologize to those that care, those that don't are yeagleyites. Ward Churchill, was ten times the Indian yeagley claims to be. Are you Justin, Native American?? Just curious!

Anonymous said...

Justin,

Know what son, I think you mean well.

How can I say this and mean well also, I remember Karahrah and Niedo and T. Wahnee. Now we have the younger Men, they do well, they are learning, they want to keep the old songs going not too many Elders left to teach the younger generation. A lot of it is Family, A lot is a person remembering when they were once young hearing the songs thru the nite and watching and helping with the tent, wood breakfast being afraid of doing something wrong, yet wanting to be involved, being among the Elders and visitors and laughter remembering.....remembering your loved one wanted this Peyote meeting for YOU! It was their way of saying "Thank you, and your being takin care of"...with a Prayor!

Anonymous said...

i think you should try to make the spiritual songs into some type of harmony song. there, you might be able to make more money. the songs are nice don't get me wrong. i reckon if i had the tapes i would go and try to cash in on them too. i also think the elders made them for you to put on the puter. maybe they want to get them on a guitar too.

Justin Snow said...

I tried to figure out why everyone who is commenting on this post hates me so much, and the only conclusion I could come up with is that maybe I was too flippant in regards to the peyote rituals. I didn't use revering words, I didn't put it up on a pedestal. I talked about it like some guy who had just stumbled across a record with Comanche Peyote Songs in the back corner of a record shop. I talked strictly about the music. I didn't mention the significance or purpose of the ceremonies because I knew it was something I had no knowledge of.

I think the music created on this recording was taken out of context, but the record itself was not. My context was finding an old beat up record with music made by Comanches partaking in a peyote ceremony. And from that context this review came. Obviously, the music itself has a lot more behind it. There's a history, a story, a 100 things which I am not, and could not, be part of. Not I, nor anybody else who hasn't experienced a Native American ritual, could ever hear this music in the same way as somebody who has experienced all of those things. But just because we hear it differently, doesn't mean it's bad or wrong. In fact, I think there's a lot to be said about listening to music taken completely out of context because it reveals an entirely different experience.

Having said all of that, I still think there are plenty of commenters here who have missed the point. I feel as though many of you have a deep routed anger for something that I have no part of. You're bringing a nearly irrelevant argument to my blog and it has no place here. I'm not going to pretend to understand what you're angry about or why, but from your comments it seems to be directed towards the record label, the people who recorded these songs, the Native Americans who allowed their songs to be recorded, or basically anyone making a profit from and/or exploiting this record. I am none of those things.

I wanted to share with my friends a record that I found and enjoyed, and thought they would also enjoy. I'm sad that such an innocent review generated such hateful feelings. That clearly was never my intention. I'm closing comments on this post for hopefully obvious reasons.