Kiowa Gourd Dance Vol. 1

Kiowa Gourd Dance Vol. 1

Indian House
Singers: Daniel Cozad, Joe Cozad, Larry Cozad, Leonard Cozad Sr., Billy Hunting Horse, Adam Kaulaity, Vincent Spotted Bird, Yale Spotted Bird, Velma Cozad, Barbara Ahhaitty Monoessy, Dobbin Monoessy, Naomi Svitak.
Comments on the songs as told by Leonard Cozad Sr.

The Kiowa gourd dance is the traditional dance of the Tai-pe-go warrior society, which was one of several men's societies in the Kiowa tribe. Although Tai-pe-go distantly refers to words meaning skunkberry and brave, its translation has become obscure over the years, and today is specifically the name of this society. The English name of gourd dance is derived from the special rattles held by the dancers, originally made of gourd or rawhide, but now of baking powder cans or metal salt shakers. Even though these metal rattles have been used in this dance for more than 50 years, they are still called gourds when speaking of them in English.

As told by Leonard Cozad Sr., the Kiowas had bands or societies, I don't know how far back, From what I got from a few of my elders, they had these dances only once a year in the summertime. In those days we had a sun dance - a bigger place to go for all the societies and organizations; and these sun dances were put on by different societies, such as the Young Colts (Alto-yui), the Mustangs (Tse-taa-do), the Gourd society (Tai-pe-go), the Black Leggings (Ton-kon-got), and the Elite Warriors (Koe-sen-ko). Each of these societies has their own songs. When they are going to put up a sun dance lodge, each society has a brush dance, from Gourd dance and Black Leggings on down, except for the Elite Warriors, we never heard anything about that. But these others are the ones, the people who have work to do to put up the lodge. When it's done, that's when the sun dance begins. In the meantime, all these different societies have their own places in the circle - a big circle with the lodge in the center, and they put on dances as time goes on.

Even though the last Kiowa sun dance was held in 1890, the gourd dance continued to be held by the original Tai-pe-go members until 1927, when the last dance was held 3 or 4 miles southeast of Carnegie. After this, most of the old people died out, and the gourd dance was not held again until Armistice Day in 1946 when it was again performed in Carnegie. There was no formal organization then, as the Tai-pe-go had disbanded, but beginning in September of 1956, some of the descendants of the original members have formed new organizations, and today the century-old warrior dance is held at least annually for armed forces days and other special occasions, and is enjoyed not only by Kiowas, but also by many other visiting tribes.

It's just like prayer songs, it just makes you happy, and makes people feel good. When we sing these songs, we want to help the people who may be in mourning and want to come back or may be sick, or have troubles. When they hear the drum and the song, then they want to live - they want to go on to hear these good things among the homes and their children.

In this recording we are very proud to present these fine singers and songs of the Kiowa tribe, and we are indeed grateful to singers and dancers who have made this album possible.

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Performed by


Native Words



Starting Song This is the starting song, as far as we know about this song. Any gourd dance, it's the starting song. It sort of gets everybody to come in and get ready. Either you can get up and dance on the end of it, or whatever you've got to prepare. It's the starting song for everybody that's taking part. Kiowa
Original Gourd Dance Song This song is for everybody to go in and dance, anybody. It's a straight, full dance. Anybody can dance on this song. It's and original gourd dance song. Kiowa
Original Folks Song This is a real original old folks song - old people. During a war journey, the warriors heard somebody singing over behind the hill; they creeped up there to see him, and it was a wolf. He was singing these songs, and from there each man began to sing different, their own style of singing, but on the end, it must be "ooooooooo" howl - wolf howl on the end, always. That's the original gourd dance singing, and it must be hollered every time when we get through singing - just holler, warrior sound. Kiowa
Original Gourd Dance Song Original gourd sound sung by the old warriors back then. Kiowa
Original Gourd Dance Song Original gourd song. Kiowa
Chiefs Song This song is a chief's song. It has words in it, be we didn't put them in. "If I should die, this song will be here. Even if the war lords die." Kiowa
Wolf Song This song here - that story I said about the wolf - it's an old song. This is the one they heard over the hill where they heard that song, the warriors. They heard that wolf, about sundown, loping, he was singing this song. And when he stopped on the end, he howled. That's the one they call red wolf. That's the red wolf they're talking about, but we don't put that in there, we don't put the name in there. Kiowa
Original Gourd Dance As far as I know, this is just a straight song. Original gourd song. Kiowa
Original Gourd Dance The drum and the sound of the music, so people can get some benefit out of it, some good feeling... This is an original gourd song. Kiowa
Original Gourd Dance Original gourd song. Kiowa
Original Gourd Dance Where everybody is in the mood, and when they sing this fast song - I would put it this way, it's like attacking - attacking the enemy and all of that, and it makes them build where they want to go right on to the skirmishes. Original gourd song. Right speed, that's the way it's supposed to sound. Kiowa
Original Gourd Dance Original gourd song. Kiowa