07 July 2009

Music Out of Time

I was watching an episode of CSI:New York and was surprised to hear song I know instead of their usual house music. I posted a video of that, Robbie Robertson and the Red Road Ensemble "Ghost Dance", yesterday. I was thinking about why that song was a bad choice for the place they used it. That got me thinking onward to the Ghost Dance religion and the modern Pow Wows, and that made me turn to YouTube again. I wanted to see a modern version of the Ghost Dance if I could find one.

Then, of course, I had YouTube serendipity. In 1894, Edison brought some Sioux from Buffalo Bill's show troupe into his studio to film them doing some traditional dances! These are among the first movies ever shot. Now the Library of Congress has posted a mass of Edison's early flms on YouTube. It's so cool. 1894!

Here are the two relevant snips. Both of these are very short and have no sound.


Sioux Ghost Dance (Edison, 1894)


Buffalo Dance (Edison, 1894)


Hopi Buffalos/sumi'nangwa 2007 (nativemama, 2007)

For comparison, here is a more modern version of a buffalo dance. It is Hopi, not Sioux, but it seems similar to my outsider's eye. (I can just about tell the difference between a Lady's Fancy Shawl dance and a Grass Dance.)

I am definitely going to look more into the Ghost Dance and Pow Wow movements, but these and the other Edison films completely distracted me today.

No comments: