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date: 13 November 2019

‘Ásaa’ yilghaalílocked

  • David P. McAllester
  • , revised by J. Richard Haefer

Extract

Water-drum of the Navajo of the southwestern USA. The body is an elongated earthenware pot 20 to 25 cm deep with a rounded bottom and a slight lip around the mouth; it is half-filled with water. The buckskin head is soaked in water, stretched over the opening and bound in place with strips of wet buckskin. The drum is prepared ceremonially with appropriate songs for each stage of assemblage and is given ‘life’ by having eyes and a mouth punched in the head with an awl. The drumstick (‘ásaa’ bee yiltazhí) is made from an oak twig about 25 cm long and 6 mm thick at the base. The tip is bent and tied in a circular loop about 12 cm in diameter. One or two downy eagle feathers are usually bound to the end of the loop so that they project slightly beyond it. The loop of the stick is used to strike the drumhead. The drum accompanies the public Squaw Dance songs of the Enemyway ceremony....

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