The music on this record is Iroquois social (as opposed to religious) music from the Six Nations reserve near Brantford, Ontario. The Six Nations are: Cayuga, Mohawk, Onandaga, Oneida, Seneca, and Tuscarora. The performers are followers of the longhouse tradition, a religion founded by Handsome Lake in the early 19th century. They have served in various longhouse capacities, from dancer/singer to speaker in religious gatherings.
The instruments used are traditional water drum and cow horn rattle. The water drum is constructed of basswood in a small keg shape, and covered with leather which is secured tightly by a ring of hickory. It contains about two ounces of water which keeps the leather moist and alters its pitch by increasing its mass during a performance, as can be heard on this recording, the leather becomes dry from constant use and the pitch rises. The performer then turns over the drum to re-wet the skin, and the pitch is lowered.
Cowhorn for the rattle is boiled, and then thinned by scraping away the softened inside a handle is mounted, pits, gunshot or seeds are placed inside and the end is capped with wood.
Foot stomping and chair hitting are also used.
Recorded at the Woodland Indian Cultural Educational Centre, Brantford, Ontario. Mastered at the Laquer Channel Ltd. Pressed at Golden Records.
Instruments made by Hubert Buck Sr.
A 60 minute cassette with additional songs also available.
Amos Keye Jr.
Hubert Buck Jr.
Hubert Buck Sr.
Recorded By Paul Hodge and Peter Anson