January 1, 2016

Round Dance features traditional songs

By Jerry W. Kram

A Round Dance featuring traditional music of the Northern Plains Tribes will be held at the Johnny Bird Memorial Hall five miles west of New Town on Friday, February 19 at 7 p.m. The event is called Traditional Songs of the Upper Missouri.

A round dance features hand drums and older style of native songs, said Darian Morsette, director of the MHA Tourism Department. The older song styles include push dance, doorway, Kahomni, owl and rabbit dance songs.

"These are older songs that were handed down," Morsette said. "They don’t really get sung a lot today. It is really an old style of singing. These songs have been going away so we are bringing them back. So people will get together in a big circle with hand drums and they will sing."

The dance will honor a large number of older singers who have been instrumental in keeping these traditional songs alive. Among the singers honored are Art Smith, Alfred Morsette Jr., Delvin Driver Sr., Marvin Driver, Malcolm Wolf, Tony Mandan, Edwin Benson, Bobby Bear (Nashanuu), Roger Grady, Emerson Baker, Angus Fox, Wayne Hunter, and Matthew Mason.

"We want to bring these songs to a new generation but still honor the old singers," Morsette said. "All these guys used to sing these songs."

The lead singers for the dance will be Alfred Moresette, Sidrick Baker and Kenny Smith. The announcer will by Charlie Moran. Invited singers include Londel Seaboy, Wambdi Gill, Pat Badhand, Gerred Red Eagle, Keveon Kingbird, Mark Kingbird, Samatt Top Sky, Monte Wolf Child, Jay Dusty Bull, Michael Spears, Edmund Old Crow, Bill Runs Above and Seymour Eagle Speaker.


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