Essential Song: Three Decades of Northern Cree Music

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Wilfrid Laurier Univ. Press, May 1, 2007 - History - 174 pages
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Includes audio CD with over 50 Cree hunting songs

Essential Song: Three Decades of Northern Cree Music, a study of subarctic Cree hunting songs, is the first detailed ethnomusicology of the northern Cree of Quebec and Manitoba. The result of more than two decades spent in the North learning from the Cree, Lynn Whidden’s account discusses the tradition of the hunting songs, their meanings and origins, and their importance to the hunt. She also examines women’s songs, and traces the impact of social change—including the introduction of hymns, Gospel tunes, and country music—on the song traditions of these communities.

The book also explores the introduction of powwow song into the subarctic and the Crees struggle to maintain their Aboriginal heritage—to find a kind of song that, like the hunting songs, can serve as a spiritual guide and force.

Including profiles of the hunters and their songs and accompanied by an original audio CD of more than fifty Cree hunting songs, Essential Song makes an important contribution to ethnomusicology, social history, and Aboriginal studies.

 

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Contents

Introduction
1
1 Song and Ceremony
13
2 Song and History
31
3 Song and Survival
47
4 Hymns and Hunting Songs
75
How Can You Dance to Beethoven?
91
6 Powwow in the Subarctic
101
From the South to the Subarctic
113
Afterword
127
Appendix I
129
Appendix II
132
Notes
153
List of Sources
157
Bibliography
163
Index
171
CD Track Listing
176

Conclusion
121

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About the author (2007)

Lynn Whidden is an associate professor of Native studies and music at Brandon University, Manitoba.

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