About the BookSongprints explores the musical lives of Native American women as they navigate a century of cultural change and constancy among the Shoshone of Wyoming's Wind River Reservation. Judith Vander captures the distinct personalities of five generations of Shoshone women as they describe their thoughts, feelings, and attitudes toward their music. Ranging in age from seventy to twenty, the women provide a unique historical perspective on twentieth-century Wind River Shoshone life.
In addition to documenting these oral histories, Vander transcribes and analyzes seventy-five songs that the women sing--a microcosm of Northern Plains Indian music. As she shows, each woman possesses her own songprint, a repertoire distinctive to her culture, age, and personality, as unique in its configuration as a fingerprint or footprint. Vander places the women's song repertoires in the context of Shoshone social and religious ceremonies as she offers insights into the rise of the Native American Church, the emergence and popularity of the contemporary powwow, and the expanding role of women.
About the AuthorJudith Vander is an independent ethnomusicologist and composer. She is the author of Ghost Dance Songs and Religions of a Wind River Shoshone Woman.
Reviews"An unusual contribution to the large body of literature dealing with Native American music and its cultural context. . . . It is interestingly written, includes considerable verbatim materials from interviews, and is readily accessible to the educated general reader."--Bruno Nettl, Choice
"Filled with information and insights that rarely surface in standard academic writing. . . . Destined to serve as a model of future investigations and will become a classic in the field."--William K. Powers, Journal of American Folklore
"Vander makes significant contributions to many areas, including ethnomusicology, women's studies, Native American studies, and cultural anthropology."--Charlotte J. Frisbie, author of Navajo Medicine Bundles or Jish: Acquisition, Transmission, and Disposition in the Past and Present
"This volume presents both musically and in cultural context the largest and finest corpus of Shoshone music on record. A second contribution is the abundant material on Shoshone women's culture in a changing, contemporary context. These materials are unique and have very few analogues in the entire literature on American Indians."--Demitri B. Shimkin, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
"Vander makes significant contributions to many areas, including ethnomusicology, women's studies, Native American studies, and cultural anthropology. While choosing a format which puts major emphasis on the five women speaking for themselves, she sensitively balances their self-presentations with analytical comments, summaries, and comparisons designed for non-Shoshone, 'outsider' readers. Vander is to be congratulated not just for successful long-term fieldwork and involving her Shoshone collaborators in the end product, but also for sharing both them and what she has learned from them with the rest of us in such a refreshing way."--Charlotte J. Frisbie, author of Navajo Medicine Bundles or Jish: Acquisition, Transmission, and Disposition in the Past and Present