S: Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Dancers Songbook Volume 1
FC: Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Dancers Songbook
1: This project made possible by a grant from the U.S. Institute of Museum and Library Services | All songs in this volume are the property of the clans and should not be used without proper permission.
3: Jilkaat Kwaan Heritage Dancers Songbook Volume 1 Compiled by Lani Hotch for the Klukwan Community and School Library with support from the Institute of Museum and Library Services 2011
5: Table of Contents Chapter 1: Entrance and Exit Songs.....7 Aa Haa Hee Yei-Geisan Dancer’s Entrance Song.....8 Aan Na Hei-There’s the Land.....9 Canoe Song.....10 Dei Awe-Exit Song.....11 Ee Yei Laa-Warm up Song.....12 Haa Haa Hee Yei-Mary Willard Entrance Song.....13 Heenee Saa- Copper River Song.....14 Oo-Oo-Oo-Klukwan Elder’s Entrance Song.....15 Tsu Hei Dei-Sealaska Entrance Song.....16 Wee Yei Ya Aa-Gunaanaa Entrance/Exit Song.....17 Yaa Haa Ha Wei-Tsmishian Visitor’s Song.....18 Chapter 2: Trade, Chilkat Blanket, Other Songs .....21 Goosu Wa.ei-Potlatch Invitational Song.....22 Hei Ee Yaaw Hei .....23 Hei Yaa Hei.....24 Hoo-oo Wei Hei Haa.....25 Klukwan Healing Robe Song.....26 Nee Staa-Chilkat Blanket Song.....27 Ptarmigan Song-Geisan’s Version.....28 Shee Gee Gee-Interior Thunderbird Song.....29
6: Picture taken close to Klukwan, Alaska Image of Potlatch Dance on Chilkat River Alaska. 1895.
7: Chapter 1: Entrance and Exit Songs
8: Aa Haa Hee Yei Geisan Dancer’s Coming In Song | Aa--- Haa--- Hee Yei, Aa, Hei, Hee Yei---, oo, oo, oo------ Aa--- Haa--- Hee Yei, oo, oo, oo------ Repeat as desired. Song History/Use: This is a trade song learned from the Interior tribes, Athapaskans or Gunanaa as they are called in Tlingit. The Chilkat people used to trade with the Interior tribes quite often taking goods such as rice, tea, sugar and coffee * gained from trade with the Russians or Americans. They traded these items for furs from the Interior people. Before the trade expedition was completed there would be a feast wherein the Athapaskan hosts would teach the Chilkats some of their songs. These songs were brought back to Klukwan and are still used today. This song is typically used as an entrance song or exit song by dance groups. It should be sung with deep powerful voices with strong deliberate moves by the dancers. (See the Geisan Dancers performance of this song at the first Celebration put on by Sealaska in 1982. Note especially the movements by Austin Hammond the Lukaaxadi (Sockeye) clan leader from the Raven House in Haines, and Nathan Jackson also of the Lukaaxadi clan. Some of the elder women in the video also offer great examples for young girls to emulate. *The Proud Chilkat by Brendan and Lauri Larson for the Education Committee Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp No. 5. Copyright 1977. Printed by the Chilkat Press, Haines, Alaska.
9: Aan A Hei (There is the Land) | Watchman on Bow of Canoe yells: Aan a Hei! Group joins in: Aan a hei ei-ei-ei ee yo ho ho, (the ei ei ei in the vocables have a staccato effect as if the singers are on board the canoe in rough water) Aan a hei ei-ei-ei ee yo ho ho, Aan a hei ei-ei-ei ee yo ho ho, Vocables: Alternate Vocables: Hoo-haa, hoo-haa, aa---n a –hei, Hoo-haa, hoo-haa, aa a wei, Hoo-haa, hoo-haa, aa---n a –hei Hoo-haa, hoo-haa, aa a wei English Interpretation: Aan na hei. (There is the land/village/town/city). Song History/Use: This song was taught to me by Agnes Bellinger, Kaagwaantaan elder from the Wolf House. She did not indicate a composer. When performing this song the dancers should be aligned as if paddling in a canoe and a “watchman” is positioned in the “bow” of the imaginary canoe. When all dancers have reached their destination the watchman yells Aan a hei! The English interpretation of the phrase means “There is the land.” (Aan can also mean village, town, or city). If you can imagine paddling for days to attend a koo.eex in another village you can also imagine the paddlers joy in sighting the land/village. Once the watchman yells Aan a hei! the dancers should break out into dance immediately and enthusiastically. This song is usually paired with the canoe song to demonstrate the history of travel among our people.
10: Canoe Song Song Text: Whei-------, Whei--------, Whee-ee yaa hei-------, Whei-------, Whei--------, Whee-ee yaa hei-------, Aa---- aa—aa---aa—aa haa------ Aa haa whee yaa hei---- yaa aa----- Whei-------, Whei--------, Whee-ee yaa hei-------, Whei-------, Whei--------, Whee-ee yaa hei-------, Aa---- aa—aa---aa—aa haa------ Aa haa whee yaa hei---- yaa aa----- Repeat as many times as desired/necessary English Interpretation: vocables only, designed to help crew keep rhythm while paddling a canoe. Song History/Use: This song was taught to me by Agnes Bellinger and Jack Strong. I was not given the name of the composer.The Canoe Song is used by many dance groups so I believe it is in public domain at this point. The Canoe Song is especially useful to establish a rhythm for those paddling in a canoe. This is important so those paddling will not hit their paddles against each other and break them. It also increases speed and maneuverability if everyone rows together. This song can also be used as a coming in song and can be a very effective and educational tool to relate the important role canoes had within our culture. Canoes were used to travel from one community to another for trade and social gatherings such as a koo.eex (memorial feast). Oral history indicates that our ancestors used to travel as far south as California and into the far north as well. To travel such distances in the dug out canoes is quite a feat and speaks to the strength, and intelligence of our ancestors. There are photos of canoe with sails affixed, canvas sails were used after contact and woven cedar bark sails were also used by various Pacific Northwest Coast tribes who all used dug out canoes.
11: Dei Awé Song Text: Dei awé, Dei awé, gook deí, gook deí, Vocables: Hei, hei, hei-hei---- Repeat as desired. English Interpretation: Dei awé: That’s enough. Gook dei. Go now. Song History: This song was a spin off of the Hoonah Exit Song. It was composed on the spot by Grandma Annie Hotch who was helping us with our dance practice at the ANS Hall in Klukwan. We were a very young dance group in 1992 and didn’t know very many songs. We didn’t have an exit song at the time and when we did a practice performance for the community our young dancers didn’t know when to exit and they missed our visual cue. Grandma Annie came up with this fun interpretation of the Hoonah Exit Song after Jack Strong demonstrated it for us at our practice. Elder Walter Soboleff teased me about the song after we used it at one of the Celebrations, “That’s enough, that’s enough, go now, go now for 20 minutes,” he said with a sparkle in his eye. Given Walter’s remark I wouldn’t recommend using this song when there is a large group performing or when the distance to exit is a long way since the song is rather monotonous and could get tiresome if sung for too long.
12: Ee Yei Laa- Song Text: Ee Yei--- Laa, Ee Yei--- Laa, Ee Yei--- hoo, hoo, hoo--- Yei---, Hei, Hei---, Hei Hee yaa---, aa, aa, aa--- Hee yaa---, aa, aa, aa---, Hee yaa---, aa, aa, aa---, Hei---, ei, ei, ei---, Hei hee yaa---, aa, aa, aa--- (Repeat line 1-4 several times as deemed appropriate by song leader.) Note: The l’s in this song are English rather than Tlingit. Song History/Use: This song was taught by Kaagwaantaan elder Agnes Bellinger. She explained that this song was used as a preparation/warm up song. “For putting on your moccasins,” Agnes explained. She did not explain the meaning of the words at the time so I assume they are vocables like those sung by a choral group in warm up exercises.
13: Haa Haa Hee Yei Mary Willard’s Coming In Song Song Text: Haa—Haa-- Hee Yei----, Haa—Haa-- Hee Yei----, Haa----haa.aa.a.aa.aa----, Haa-- aa—hee yei----. Repeat as many times as desired. English Interpretation: vocables only Song History: This song was taught to me by Agnes Bellinger. She said it was a coming in song that was favored by Mary (Ak.lá) Kaatchkanak Willard and her daughter Jennie Warren. I am not sure if Mary composed it but she may have.
14: Heeni Saa | Copper River Song Song Leader: Aa Haa Hei----, Aa.aa Haa Group: Heeni saa-aa--, Heeni saa Hee yaa, Hei--- ei.ei. ei---- Heeni saa, heenisaa Yaa, yaa, Hei, ei,ei, hei---- Repeat as many times as desired. The song should be used as a precursor to the main performance “while standing at the door.” We like to alternate song leaders with each new round. This gives dancers a chance to lead out without putting too much pressure on them to start with. It is important that the various song leaders stay in the same key so the song doesn’t sound disjointed or clumsy. English Interpretation: unknown Song History/Use: This trade song originated in Copper River area. The Mount Saint Elias Dancers from Yakutat claim this song as it was gained in trade from the Gunanaa. Marsha Hotch said that she recalls Klukwan elders using the song in Klukwan. It is likely that our ancestors learned the song on a trade expedition with the Copper River people as well. George Ramos, elder from Yakutat who has worked with the Mt. Saint Elias dancers for many years, said the song was used to notify a clan or village that visitors were coming in much the same way that we would knock on someone’s door.
15: Song Leader Only: Tsu--- heí—dei—Shugaa—x too taá---n aa----aa Everyone joins in: Tsu heídei shugaxtootaá—aán, yaa-- yaa---koosgéi—daakeit haa jeex’ a nák has kaawdik’eet’ Ei . Hei (.) drum beat stop ei hei, ei hei--- hei, Ei--- hei, ei---hei, ei hei---, ei hei---- ei, Ei--- hei, ei---hei, ei hei---, ei hei---- ei, Repeat in Higher pitch: Ei--- hei, ei---hei, ei hei---, ei hei---- ei, Ei--- hei, ei---hei, ei hei---, ei hei---- ei, Repeat entire song beginning with Song Leader only, repeat as many times as deemed necessary. Song History/Use: This song was composed by Harold Jacobs and given to Sealaska Heritage Foundation. The words “Tsu heídei shugaxtootaán yá yaakoosgé daakeit haa jeex’a nák has kawdik’eet’.”were spoken by George Davis (Tlingit names: Kichnaalx and Lkanaaw) of the Deishhetaan from Angoon. The words were spoken in 1980 at the Sealaska Elders Conference in Sitka. The words say, “We will open again this container of wisdom left in our care.” George Davis and Harold Jacobs’ grandfather, Mark Jacobs, Sr. (Tlingit names: Kootaxteek, Nahoowoo, and Kashkwei) were of the same clan and both were grandchildren of the Sitka Kiks.ádi Clan. They always referred to each other as brother. Therefore, George Davis was also considered by Harold to be his grandfather and Harold addressed him as such. By putting George Davis’ words into this song, his words are being carried on. This song is generally used as an entrance song but can be used on other occasions such as the dedication of a new facility such as a cultural center, tribal museum, or cultural camp that will have cultural significance. | Tsu Heidei
16: OO OO OO Aa Ei Ya.aa Klukwan Elder’s Entrance Song Song Text: Oo. Oo. Oo. Aa---ei---yaa.aa, Oo. Oo. Oo. Aa---ei---, ei---ei---, ei—yaa.aa Oo. Oo. Oo. Aa—ei, ei, yaa.aa English Interpretation: vocables only Song HistoryUse: This coming in song was often used by Klukwan elders as an entrance song. It was recorded at an Independence Day Celebration at the Klukwan ANB Hall on July 4, 1980. Victor and Annie Hotch, Martha and Johnnie Willard and Jenny Thlunaut were there singing. Martha Willard’s distinctive voice is especially noticeable in the recording. Because this song was a favorite of the Klukwan elders we used it on the day the Whale House artifacts were returned to Klukwan in October of 1994 to escort the Whale House Totems and Rainwall screen from the entrance of the village to the Whale House. Joe Hotch said the ancestors would also sing this song when returning from a long trade journey. They would sing this song while dancing into Klukwan carrying their trade goods.
17: Wee Yei Ya.aa Song Text: Wee yeí---ya.aa----, wee yeí ya.aa---, Oo.oo---. oo ya. Aa Oo.oo---, oo ya.aa Repeat as many times as needed. Song History/Use: This is a trade song learned from the Interior tribes, Athapaskans or Gunanaa as they are called in Tlingit. The Chilkat people used to trade with the Interior tribes quite often taking goods such as rice, tea, sugar and coffee * gained from trade with the Russians or Americans. They traded these items for furs from the Interior people. Before the trade expedition was completed there would be a feast wherein the Athapaskan hosts would teach the Chilkats some of their songs. These songs were brought back to Klukwan and are still used today. This song is typically used as an entrance or exit song by dance groups but could possibly be used during a koo.eex as an expression of gratitude from the guests to the hosts or by the hosts to entertain their guests.
18: Yaa Haa Ha Wei -Tsimshian Visitors’ Song Song Leader: Yaa--- haa--- ha wei---, Yaa--- haa--- ha wei! Group: Yaa --- haa--- ha wei---, Yaa--- haa--- ha wei Yaa--- haa--- ha wei---, Yaa--- haa--- ha wei Yaa--- haa--- ha wei---, Hoo Haa, Hoo Haa, Haa---- ha wei, Hoo Haa, Hoo Haa, Haa---- ha wei, Hoo Haa, Hoo Haa,^Haa---- ha wei, Song Leader starts at arrow and the Hoo Haa section is continued with both parts being sung together as follows: Yaa--- haa--- ha wei---, Yaa--- haa--- ha wei! Haa Ha wei Hoo Haa Hoo Haa Haa --- Ha wei! Song History/Use: This song is referred to as the Tsimshian Visitor’s Song*as it was learned from the Tsimshian people. This song has become a favorite among the Tlingit people throughout Southeast Alaska. One clan from Angoon claims ownership but since our people have used it for generations we assume it is okay to continue with its use. Some of our people intermarried with the Tsimshian;one famous carver of the Tsimshian was known to carve the four totems in the Whale House; and the art of Chilkat Weaving was said to have come from the Tsimshian so there has been significant interaction between our people and the Tsimshians. This song is often used as an entrance or exit song and it usually gets a pretty good response from the audience. However, because this song is so popular, it may be overused and thus lose some of its appeal. *The reference to Tsimshian Visitors’ song was made by Dan Katzeek (Clan leader and caretaker of the Killer Whale Fin House, Keet Gooshi Hít of the Daklaweidi Clan in Klukwan) on a reel to reel recording of him performing the song in the mid 1950’s.
21: Chapter 2: Trade, Chilkat Blanket, & Other Songs
22: Goosu Wa. Ei-Potlatch Invitational Song Song Text: Goosu wa.ei----ei, ei—ya.aa_____(name of clan) ya----t’ki, ei, ei ya.aa (Where are child of the (clan name?) Koo---- aa nee naa a aa a aa, Koo—aaneenaa------, (Come on down). Hei ya, hei ya, hei yaa hei, Hei ya hei ya.aa------, Aa--haa hoowahaa Klukwan Clans: Daklaweidi Shangukeidi Kaagwaantaan Gaanaxteidi Other Clans: Lukaaxadi Luknaaxadi Dakdeintaan Wooshkeetaan Everybody Song History/Use: I am not sure if this particular song is owned by a clan but I do know it is in common use at gatherings such as Celebration and other public venues. I learned the song from Agnes Bellinger but also heard Dan Katzeek do the song on a recording. The song is lively and is especially good to wake up an audience. We have changed it up when using the song in mixed groups by calling out the children of kwaans/towns such as “Mud Bay Kwaani yat’ki,” or “Deishu Kwaani yatki.” We usually like to call out “everybody yat’ki” to end the song.
23: Hei Ee Yaaw Hei Song Text: Hei ee yaaw hei-----hee yaaw aaw, Hei ee yaaw hei-----hee yaaw aaw, Hei ee yaa.aa----- ee yaaw aaw, Hei yaa hei yaa haa----- hee yaaw aaw. English Interpretation: unknown, it could be just vocables (sounds used to establish a melody and rhythm). Repeat with song leader using a low voice for two rounds than jumping to a higher octave for two rounds and then returning to a low voice for two final rounds. It is nice to use a rattle for this song and to hit the drum stick on the wooden edge of the drum while singing in the higher octave. Song History/Use: This song was taken off an old reel-to-reel recording and was given to Margaret Stevens on a cassette tape. She shared the tape with me but unfortunately it was misplaced/lost. The song appears to be a Gunanaa song and Margaret thought that she recognized Mrs. Tom Jimmie in the recording. The women sang in a very high pitch on the recording and the high falsetto voices do not seem to be used by today’s song leaders. Hopefully this song will help to bring back that practice.
24: Hei Yaa Hei Song Text: Hei-- yaa hei, ei-- ee yaa Hei yaa hei---ei-ei-ei, aa--- ee ya, Hei yaa hei---ei-ei-ei, aa--- ee ya, Wee ya haa—ha-wei Haa hee ya (repeat as many times as desired) Aa-aa Haa-- Ha Wei Song Text: Aa aa haa-- ha wei, haa hee yaa Wee ya haa-- ha wei haa hee ya Wee ya haa-- ha wei haa hee ya Wee-ya, wee-ya haa-- ha wei haa hee ya Repeat as many times as desired English Interpretation: vocables only Song History: These two Gunanaa songs were taught by Annie Hotch and seemed to be two of her favorite songs. They are pretty lively and dancers are usually pretty enthusiastic and energetic as they perform them. The songs are very similar and we often sing/perform them together because of their similarity.
25: Hoo Oo Wei Hei Haa Song Text: Hoo--, oo---, wei—hei-- haa---- Hee yaa-- haa.aa----, ee ei---- Hoo--, oo---, wei—hei-- haa---- Hee yaa-- haa.aa----, Ei yaa haa, ei yaa haa, aa---- ee, ei---ei Repeat about 4 times or as many times as desired. Song History: This is a trade song learned from the Interior tribes, Athapaskans or Gunanaa as they are called in Tlingit. The Chilkat people used to trade with the Interior tribes quite often taking goods such as rice, tea, sugar and coffee * gained from trade with the Russians or Americans. They traded these items for furs from the Interior people. Before the trade expedition was completed there would be a feast wherein the Athapaskan hosts would teach the Chilkats some of their songs. These songs were brought back to Klukwan and are still used today. Song Use: This song is a fast, up beat song and is especially good for entertaining at a koo.eex or to liven up a dance performance. Jack Strong, (Tlingit Name: Kaak’weíts’) Kaagwaantaan from the Wolf House in Klukwan taught us to use a special dance routine for this song. The male dancers find a partner, preferably of similar size, and they dance facing each other while moving towards each other, touching shoulders firmly but not roughly rotate until they have exchange places with each other then begin to dance backwards away from each other (while still facing their partner) and then repeat the routine by moving towards each other again. The dance partners should be staggered on the stage to allow the audience to see all of the partner groups. *The Proud Chilkat by Brendan and Lauri Larson for the Education Committee Alaska Native Brotherhood and Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp No. 5. Copyright 1977. Printed by the Chilkat Press, Haines, Alaska.
26: Klukwan Healing Robe Song Vocables: Yei hoo hei yaa----- Yei hoo hei---- Yaa hoo waa hee Ya haaw woo haa hee ya Ya /haaw woo /haa hee ya (skip beat) Ya haaw woo haa hee ya 1st Verse: Ya haa Aan Kaa woo ( Our God) Haa toot dax, Kei aa—wa-tee---(took out our sadness) Haa kaaw widaa—li.at (the heaviness we were carrying) Haa /kaaw wi/daa—li.at (skip beat) Haa kaaw widaa—li.at (Repeat 1st verse and then vocables before going to 2nd verse) 2nd Verse: Haa too—woo—sigoo—(our joy) Ka yei—al’ei---x (and dancing) Aan Kaawooch’ haa (Our God gave---) Ee yaawlidlaak hee yaa Ee /yaawli/dlaak hee yaa (skip beat) Ee yaawlidlaak hee yaa Repeat second verse and then vocables Ending: (Say hoocha!) Yei hoo hei yaa----, yei hoo hei--- ya hoo waa Whee! Song History/Use: This song was composed by Lani Hotch with the assistance of Ruth Kasko and Margaret Stevens. It was composed in 2001 for the Healing Robe Ceremony. One day when I (Lani) was weaving on the Healing Robe I received a couple of visitors. One was a preacher from Haines who brought along a visitor with him. After we visited for awhile and I had explained what the Healing Robe was about they prayed with me for the Healing Robe. As we all prayed the following scripture came to my mind. “He gave unto me beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness.” This Bible verse speaks so well to the real meaning of the robe that I wanted to make it into a song. Ruth and Margaret helped me to translate the verse and then, with God’s help, I came up with the melody.
27: Neestaa Song Text: Nee staa.aa, nee staa.aa, nee staa.aa nee stoe Wee yaa haa haa, Wee yaa haa haa Wee-ee yaa haa haa.aa, Nee staa.aa, nee stoe English Interpretation: Unknown Song History/Use: This is a song that may have originated with the Aleuts only they sung listo instead of neestaa. I do not know if the words had meaning in the Aleut language or if they were just vocables to them as well. In Klukwan we have used this song to showcase the Chilkat Dance Blankets (or Ravenstail Robes). The dancers wearing the woven robes should be front and center on the dance platform/stage. The featured dancers dance in place for the first part of the song, then when the second line is started the dancers advance holding the dance blanket across the lower half of their faces with their right hand, then they switch to advancing with their left foot while holding the blanket across their face with their left hand, on the third line they stop moving forward, dance in place and retreat with the nee staa part of the last line. The song and dance can be repeated about 4 times with the dancers spinning around several times at the end, and closing in a crouched position with their backs to the audience. It would be appropriate to introduce this song with some background about Klukwan’s legacy of Chilkat Weaving and how the art form is being carried on today.
28: Ptarmigan Song Song Text: Hei yaa---, Hei Yaa---- Hei hei-- hei hei hei-- hei hei hei--- hei yaa--- Hei yaa hei, Hei yaa hei, Hei yaaw aa---- aa haa Ee yaaw ha--- Ee yaaw aa haa ee hei English Interpretation: unknown, it may be just vocables Song Use/History: This Ptarmigan song is a little different version than the one that Klukwan people do but it is danced in similar fashion to the Klukwan version. The song leader/drummer hits the drum extra hard and the Ptarmigan dancers fall to the floor and wait until the women come to pluck them up. In Klukwan the Ptarmigan dancers dressed in white shirts with black pants and danced with white feathers.
29: Shee Gee Gee Goo Nei Thunderbird Interior Song Song Text: Shee gee gee goo nei----- ee.ee shaa hei---goo nei---ya Shee gee gee goo nei-ei Ee shaa hei goo nei---yaa Wee yaa hei-----wee yaa haa Aa haa wee yaa hei yaa--- Repeat as many times as desired English Interpretation: unknown Song History/Use: I first heard this song from a recording of the Geisan Dancers in Haines. In the recording someone speaks the first line before it is sung, and then the second line before it is sung. The remainder of the song is sung normally. The song apparently was learned from the Interior people and it appears it belonged to a Thunderbird clan up there or is about the legendary thunderbird as I have not heard the Chilkat Thunderbirds use this song in their performances. The song is slow paced and has a somber feel. It is not one we like to dance to. We have used this song mainly for the eagle release ceremonies during the Chilkat Bald Eagle Festival.