An Anthology of Papago Traditional Music v1

Volume 1

Canyon Records
Singers: Lorenzo Pablo, Joaquion Garcia, France Manuel, and Emma Francisco. Although each of these singers comes from a different village and presently live many miles apart, they have been singing together for several years. Their varied backgrounds have been combined into their own unique style of Papago music.
Collected and recorded by J. Richard Haefer and reproduced by special permission
The songs of the Papago Indians are many and varied. This album presents selections from several different types an styles of Papago songs. Papago traditional music can be divided into two general categories: social and ceremonial. Both are represented on this recording.

Side one begins with two chelkona (skipping or scraping) dance songs. This dance is derived from the traditional inter-village athletic meets which were once a most important occasion in Papago life. The chelkona is perhaps the last traditional social dance still practiced (although infrequently) as presently, most social dances use a "chicken scratch" dance band. The following six songs of side one and the first three songs of side two are also social songs, sung for pure enjoyment.

The songs of the toka or women's hockey game have begun to disappear, as the game is no longer played. However, the excerpt on this recording will bring back memories to many Papago women.

There are two important traditional ceremonies still practice by the Papago people: the curing rituals, which involve several people and several types of songs, and the summer wine ceremony. The doajida songs are sung by the mahkai (medicine man) to determine a man's illness and one such song is presented here. The wusota songs are performed by a group of singers who know a series of songs about a particular animal or other object which may have caused a person's illness. An owl song and a horse song are included as representative of this type.

The final song is from the gohimeli or summer wine ceremony. This song would be sung when the people are dancing a traditional round dance while the saguaro fruit is fermenting into nawait or saguaro wine. An alert listener will notice that the ceremonial songs are more complex than the social songs and that they express more intense feelings.

Papago traditional music is sung by either a group (usually four or more), or less frequently by a solo singer. Both styles are represented here, Several of the songs belong to Lorenzo Pablo and were composed or "dreamed" by him. The instruments used by the male singers are a rattle and a basket drum. Only the rattles are used for the gohimeli song. The rattles are made of Mexican gourds filled with small pebbles, and the drum is a common Papago household basket (made of yucca) inverted and hit with a stick.

Although there many books available about the Papago way of life, there are few records actual Papago songs. It is hoped that this album will help fill that void.

--Notes by J. Richard Haefer

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Native Words



First Chelkona Dance Song Papago
Last Chelkona Dance Song Papago
A Woman's Song Papago
Widow's Dream Song Papago
The Song Of The Sea Gull Papago
The Song Of The Coyote Papago
Mountain Song Papago
Blackbird Song Papago
Echo Song Papago
The "Cowboy" Ant Papago
Women's Game (toka) Song Papago
Song Heard By Sick Man Papago
The Twister (Doajida Song) Papago
Owl Song (Wusota Song) Papago
Horse Song (Wusota Song) Papago
Wine Song (Gohimeli Song) Papago