Native American/First Nations Music (Eastern Woodlands)

Eastern Woodlands tribes such as the Cherokee, Choctaw, Iroquois, Yuchi, Southeastern Creek, the Delaware and the Penobscot lived/live in Maritime Canada, New England, the U.S. Mid-Atlantic states, the Great Lakes region and as far south as the U.S. Southeast. Their songs are rhythmically complex, changing rhythms abruptly and frequently, and often feature call and response singing, which doesn’t appear in most other Native American music.

[Watch a performance of an Iroquois dance. Note the call and response. | Watch a performance of an Iroquois stomp dance and an Iroquois smoke dance (including an explanation of the dances) | Learn about Choctaw music and dance | Watch an exciting dance performance at a Choctaw pow wow | Listen to some lovely Cherokee songs–three of them performed on mandolin, especially one, the “morning song,” performed by a group called Walela, which we’ll sing in class. (You may take note of the vicious debate in the YouTube comments sections about whether or not these songs are actually Cherokee. Or you may want to avoid it entirely and just enjoy the music.)]


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