Reviewed by Scott McKie B.P.
One Feather staff
Elk Soldier, from Marty, South Dakota, reminds me of Tha Tribe, and that’s a good thing because the boys from Haskell are one of my favorite groups. The similarities come in sound and the fact that, like Tha Tribe, Elk Soldier is a mix of singers from different tribal backgrounds including: Dakota, Nakoda, Cree, Winnebago, Navajo, Oneida, Lakota, and Blackfeet.
“To have the ability to sing is a very honorable talent to be blessed with,” singer Dennis “DJ” Danforth writes in the liner jacket. “I enjoy seeing the people happy after we sing. It always brings good feelings to my heart that I’m able to help someone with whatever it is they need help with. This is what I enjoy most about singing.”
Danforth enjoys making people happy when he sings, and he, along with his Elk Soldier posse’, is good at doing just that.
This collection of 12 pow wow songs and one flute track is sure to make you want to get up and dance or at least tap your feet at your desk. Ten of the songs are sung in the Nakoda language with the other two being composed in Navajo and Cree respectively.
Track two, entitled “For the Elders”, is one of my favorites on this album. Composed by Gary Drapeau, Sr. and sung in Nakoda, the song states (when translated), “You have happy lives. Remember what our ancestors did.” The way the guys blast this song out you can really tell how they respect their elders and sacrifices they made so we can all enjoy these songs and dances today.
Another song I particularly enjoyed is track nine entitled “Speedway”. Composed by Quiton Pushentanequa and sung in Nakoda, the song states (when translated), “I walk the way of the elk. We sing our songs for the people.” That sort of sums up this drum I think.
To learn more about the group and to hear some of their music, visit them online at: https://www.myspace.com/elksoldier.