For Educators: Ononhkwa'shon:'a Drum Talk Program
Ononhkwa'shon:'a (Medicine) Drum Talk
Aboriginal Artists in the Schools Program Outline:
Ononhkwa'shon:'a (Medicine) Drum Talk, factilitated by First Nations (Mohawk/Mi'kmaw), spoken word and rap recording artist Mahlikah Awe:ri aka MCAngelHeart of Toronto Based Hip Hop Fusion Band Red Slam Collective, explores creating a spoken word visual electric pow wow sound recording inspired by indigenous story themes around community, the environment, listening to our elders and intuition, and cultural preservation; expressed in the 8th Fire Prophecy (Anishnawbe) and Little Water and The Gift of the Animals (Haudenonsaunee Seneca).
Link to AAIS Roster Site:
Bookings are made directly between artist and teacher. Artists will provide teachers with copy of partnership agreement, travel fund information and evaluation forms.
This program is subsidized by the OAC. Cost to schools is $35/one hour session, plus $60 one time material/equipment fee. For details, please contact the artist.
A minimum of two classes and maximum of four classes per school may participate at any given time during the 2012-2013 school year. I need to work with a minimum of 24 classes before the end of the school year within Ontario.
Goal: This is a collaborative project which will involve students collaborating with the artist and their own classmates to create poems, visual storyboards and a musical sound track; it is integrating a variety of interrelated art forms, such as: music, visual media, sound recording, lyrical composition. This project starts with traditional stories and traditional telling; which then moves to contemporary spoken word such as rap and slam poetry; This project starts with traditional percussive drumming; which moves to electronic drum & bass. And just like my practice this project aims to empower students to find their own voice when it comes to universal issues that affect all people of the medicine wheel. The overall goal of the experience is for learners to value the art of storytelling in a contemporary medium, which allows them to share their truth on a variety of issues which are important to them and their community. This encourages the development of self-confidence, self-awareness, collaborative creating, problem solving, presentation, performance and creative writing and new media skills.
Set-up: Sessions always start with a circle. We will leave an exit and entry doorway to the circle on the Eastern side of the classroom in keeping with tradition. Each session will begin with a smudge (the lighting of one of the four sacred medicines (cedar, sage, sweet grass or tobacco) in a smudge bowl which is an empty shell. Students will be shown how to smudge or “clean” with smoke.
For group work and writing work we will need to use desks at times and may need to arrange desks in groups if this is not already part of regular classroom set-up.
For the recording sessions we will need access to a separate room to set up audio equipment and to ensure minimum exterior sounds.
Overview: Ononhkwa'shon:'a (Medicine) Drum Talk
I share a traditional story, which will include students learning a drum song and sharing cultural objects related to themes or characters in story. After story we brainstorm themes and create a cluster of words. Each student chooses one word from cluster or creates one of their own and determine the appropriate tone and pacing for their word. These words are recorded first as individual voices and then as a vocal round of words eventually all spoken at the same time.
Students view a slide show of visual works from various indigenous artists who have expressed the same themes our traditional stories have. Artist shares a 1 min slam piece based on one of the images. Each student chooses one image and composes a short 1 min slam poetry piece. Then they work in pairs. Switching their work with their partner and adding another 1min of writing. Now everyone has a 2min piece.
We listen to last sessions recording. Then we work on adding vocal emotive tones; volume changes; pacing changes to parts of our slam pieces. Also find words we want to echo or repeat. We share our pieces to larger group as a run through and determine the order. We record pieces.
We listen to our recordings from last session. We revisit the visual images from session 2 and determine a sequence which matches the flow of our spoken recording so far. Students can also search for additional images to be added or draw their own, which can be scanned or photographed into digital format. We will also create and record a percussive drum loop.
We will view our progress so far. Visual images with spoken words, with percussive drum loop. In this session we create collaborative voxables; rap hook and select drum and bass beats for project. We record voxables; rap hook and insert and mix beats.
All classes who participated in the project will take part in a screening and final sharing circle where we celebrate and reflect on our learning.
Extension: Students get final master DVD copy. And schools are encouraged to integrate the artistic work into an assembly, cultural/arts celebration of local community event.