Thursday, January 22, 2009

Peyote Healing Chants of the Native American Church

As Sung By Ralph Turtle
1972 Canyon Records C-6094

Phoenix, AZ

From the jacket notes by Robert Nuss:

"Peyote chants are generally uniform from one tribe to another which make them unique in American Indian Music. They are also unlike any of the traditional songs of the Plains Indians where the native American Church developed. The high degree of tension, breaks, quavers, and accents typical of Plains music are absent. They are sung in quiet unstressed style similar to the tribes of the Sonoran Desert and parts of Mexico. The drum and rattle are played at a constant tempo and beat in eigth notes top give the impression of a rapid tempo. A majority of peyote chants are sung within a range of a fifth to an octave and as with most Indian music have a descending melodic pattern. A phrase is usually composed of several small downward intervals occurring between phrases. There are a few variations which are due to some tribal differences in musical style during the early formative years of the peyote ritual in the 1870's and 1880's.

In 1918 several independent tribal churches joined together to form the Native American Church, a formal non-profit corporation for the purpose of presenting a strong united front to meet the hostility of the outside world. Several states were attempting to outlaw the use and possession of peyote through formal lawmaking. The organized Native American Church was better able to lead the way for the smaller local groups in court cases over the legality of the use of peyote in prayer meetings. The Church's arguments are based on constitutional guarantees of freedom of religion and on differences of opinion between Church and states on the effects of peyote as it is used in prayer meetings."

listen to Peyote Healing Chants

1 comment:

Medicinehorse7 said...

I am a Native American church member and a composer of Tradition Sioux and Navajo peyote songs. Thank you for posting this article in a positive fashion. Please check My Blog for Art and discusion if you find the time.