The Black Lodge Singers / Blackfoot from White Swan, Montana
Black Lodge—Take it Away!
That’s the call at many pow wows across the United States as the Master of Ceremonies calls the drum group to begin. And Black Lodge does just that—takes it away. The Black Lodge Singers are a group of vibrant and exciting drummers and singers that perform for pow wows everywhere.
The group is led by Kenny Scabby Robe, a Blackfoot Indian,who is also the father of most of the drummers. Kenny has twelve sons whom he has groomed and taught to sing and drum. Kenny laughs and says that when they first began the MC would call for “Black Lodge” and people would walk off the floor. Not anymore! Kenny is strict with his young group. They are not allowed to drink or carry on and are taught a strict discipline with the drum. Black Lodge is perhaps most “famous” for their children’s songs. Kenny felt that kids were losing interest in their culture, in the drum, and in the songs. Songs like “Mickey Mouse” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” are to pull them back to the drum.
The Blackfoot Nation was once one of the most fierce and powerful tribes of the central Plains consisting of four tribes that shared the Algonquian language: the Blackfoot, Kainah, and the Northern and Southern Piegan. The western Blackfoot were buffalo hunters who lived a wandering life following the herds. They lived in tipis and banded together into smaller groups but came together to celebrate or fight. Their culture and lifestyle remained relatively unchanged for centuries, but with the first contact with the Lewis and Clark expedition, the changes came quick and hard. The Blackfoot were located in the path of the “way west.”
Listen to a sample of the show here.
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Kenny Scabby Robe and his wife.