Native American Music: Round Dance

Native American Music: Round Dance

Posted on January 13, 2011 by
Round Dance music by Northern Cree: Long Winter Nights

Northern Cree: Long Winter Nights

Characterized by energized English lyrics and the unmistakable cadence of the drum, the rhythms of Round Dance fill the room with laughter, friendship, togetherness, and goodwill.

The spontaneous, infectious sound of this contemporary style of Native American music draws people to the dance floor with songs of love and romance, native pride, and bittersweet humor.

What is Round Dance?
The origins of Round Dance lie in the healing dances of the Plains Indians – it retains its spiritual core and inspires joy and happiness – men and women, young and old dance in a spectacular display of kinship and harmony.

In the recent past, this social dance music has gained in popularity among the Native American community and is moving into the mainstream as a popular music style.

It’s all about the drums
Native American dance is centered around the drum, so it makes sense that drums are a crucial part of Round Dance music…the only difference is the size of the drum.

Rather than of the deep, thunderous sounds of the larger pedestal drums typically associated with native song, Round Dance music often features the spirited sounds of the much smaller single headed hand drum – whether performed by one singer or a large group of singers, each beats a drum while singing – each song features soaring vocals set to the steady, resonating beat of the drum.

Spontaneous, live music concert
Instead of posters, flyers, and months of planning, Round Dances are more impromptu and typically spread by word of mouth. Performers specializing in the Round Dance style are often “booked” by the sponsor (usually a person, family, or community) only a week or two in advance.

Season for Round Dance: Winter
Winter is Round Dance time. Although these social dances can take place during a powwow, they can also be experienced as a singular event…some of these indoor winter gatherings have been known to last throughout the night, often finishing after sunrise.

Meet some of our favorite Round Dance artists…

Round Dance music by Nakoa HeavyRunner: Dance for Me

Nakoa HeavyRunner: Dance for Me

Round Dance music by Nakoa HeavyRunner: No Borders

Nakoa HeavyRunner: No Borders

Round Dance music by Northern Cree: Sweethearts Shuffle

Northern Cree: Sweetheart's Shuffle

Round Dance music by Sullivan & Day: Love, Lies, Lullabies

Sullivan & Day: Love, Lies, Lullabies

Round Dance music by Dearly & Denny: Love Hurts, Dude

Dearly & Denny: Love Hurts, Dude

Round Dance music from Opie Day Bedeau: One Love

Opie Day Bedeau: One Love