Essential Song: Three Decades of Northern Cree Music

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Wilfrid Laurier University Press, May 1, 2007 - Music - 192 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
Song and Ceremony
13
Song and History
31
Song and Survival
47
Afterword by Stan Louttit
127
Notes
153
Bibliography
163
Track Listing
176
Copyright

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About the author (2007)

Lynn Whidden is an associate professor of Native studies and music at Brandon University, Manitoba. Her research has focused on the role of songs in the lives of subarctic Cree and Caribou Inuit. She has published many articles on the song traditions of the Métis and the Dakota and has contributed to numerous television and radio broadcasts about Aboriginal song.

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