September 4, 2012

Labor Day Weekend: Word, Song, Dance

For me, Labor Day Weekend has become somewhat of a yearly tradition. After meeting up once again with my friend Marquis McCheever, I headed out to waterfront Camp Pa-Qua-Tuck in Center Moriches to give a performance at Bradstock. This was my third time doing the festival and I can say that the atmosphere has definitely grown. Throughout the camp's vast grounds and many buildings, one can discover a main stage, a poetry porch, and a pavilion for acoustic acts. There is always something going on and the sound of music being played in the background is always present. It's a pleasure for me to be a part of this happening and I look forward to it every year.

After the Bradstock poetry performances were complete, Marquis and I headed east to the Shinnecock Nation's 66th Annual Powwow. The first thing that I like to do upon arrival is to stroll through the aisles and aisles of vendors. There are always a few trinkets that catch my eye. This year, I picked up a Mayan Worry Doll. The story goes that if you tell one of your concerns to the doll and put it under your pillow at bedtime, by the time you wake in the morning, the doll will have taken the worry away. I also found a Bird Whistle from Peru that I had to buy. 

Once I was done browsing the booths, I got a Lakota Fry Bread smothered in blueberries and powdered sugar and found a spot near the stage to watch the dance contests. I could tell that the organizers of this event put a lot of attention into the PA system this year; the sound of pounding drums and tribal singing was so powerful that it rumbled in my chest like shotgun blasts. The tribal dress is always breathtaking.

As afternoon was turning dusk and the dance contests had concluded, the stage was set up for a pair of moving musical performances by recording artists Arvel Bird and Joanne Shenandoah.

Now, I've been going to the Powwow every year for quite a while, but I always manage to experience it a little differently. This was my first time seeing it at night. I had never before seen the fire-lighting ceremony or the tribal dancers making their Grand Entry under the silver glow of spotlights. It was absolutely marvelous. The festival continued into the evening with lots of music and dancing around the fire. A beautiful vibe. I very much enjoyed seeing this display in the evening time.

I'll finish up this post with a few fantastic photographs taken by Marquis McCheever. Cheers!

"And now why tarriest thou?
Arise, and be baptized, and wash away thy sins,
calling on the name of the Lord."

~Acts 22:16