'Scouts,' by Warscout
While drumming groups are few and far between in the 21st century, even fewer contain the diverse sounds and backgrounds that the members of Warscout bring with them to the drum.
The mostly Canadian pow wow drumming group has just released ''Scouts,'' their latest CD to be distributed by Canyon Records.
At just under 65 minutes long, the CD features 17 songs total - just enough for a great round of pow wow dancing and practicing. The beat of the drum changes from song to song, further adding to the diversity of the ''Scouts'' title.
Warscout's creator is Randall Paskemin, of the Sweetgrass First Nations Band in Saskatchewan, Canada. In 2003, he set out to form a pow wow group; and since then, Warscout - named after a horse in a dream Paskemin had - has grown.
According to Canyon Records, Paskemin is responsible for making most of the songs on the ''Scouts'' CD and most are in the Plains Cree language. Still, that won't stop listeners from understanding the message of the songs, as, like most pow wow music, the sound is universal.
''Scouts'' is the perfect combination of traditional pow wow sounds with contemporary flare, such as the use of female voice throughout the album. Steering away from tradition in some of the tracks has also helped to set ''Scouts'' apart from other pow wow groups.
Though the songs are sung in Plain Cree, the CD's hard copy includes summarized translations of the songs' messages. It would take a listener just a minute or two to scan over the translations and have those meanings in mind while listening to the drumming and chanting of the song.
The first track, ''Throwback,'' is singing, ''I am very happy I came to this pow-wow. We are having fun. Come all and have fun.''
Continuing to follow along with its pow wow theme, the CD continues with the song ''Trails.'' Its lyrics are translated as: ''It sure is beautiful what we see here. Dancers from all over this land.''
The translations are provided and they offer listeners the opportunity to broaden their appreciation for the music heard on ''Scouts.''
Whether listeners are looking for a CD to dance to or they just want to hear the sounds of a pow wow, ''Scouts'' caters to both audiences.
Traditional sounding pow wow songs on the album like ''Tobacco Road'' and ''Horses'' are mixed with contemporary-sounding drumming and chanting found in songs like ''I see Red, I am ... Red'' and ''Dance For the People'' - both of which have female sounds.
The track ''Another Day'' mixes up the sounds of drumming and singing for a fun-sounding song that can be appreciated by non-dancers or listeners who are new to Native music.
In the songs ''Apsaalooke Double Beat'' and ''Buffalo Stomp,'' the drumbeat changes from the traditional count. This added touch would benefit those practicing their pow wow dancing, as it would require them to move differently from what they're accustomed to. It's also a feature that would be appreciated by those just playing ''Scouts'' on their home stereo, as it distinguishes the tracks easily from one another.
The voices and drummers heard on ''Scouts'' are a kaleidoscope of cultures and backgrounds. With so many cultures represented, ''Scouts'' is truly diverse. Warscout's members are from across North America.
''Scouts'' was recorded live at Stanford University. Warscout travels around North America drumming and singing along the pow wow trail.
To hear songs from their latest album, visit www.myspace.com/warscoutsingers.
To find out where to purchase the album, visit www.canyonrecords.com.