6-22 The Fascinating 1920s with Lauri Robinson

Monday, October 1, 2018

Discovering a Lost Art by Paty Jager

Do you ever listen to music from another culture? I don't mean you grew up listening to the Jive and now listen to today's Rock. 

Native American,  Central American, Chinese, Andes. I have CDs with music from all of these places. I listen to it as I write first drafts of books. 

Why you might ask? I've had books with either characters of these nationalities or set in the areas. By listening, I feel the rhythm of the culture and the nuances. Does that make me strange? Probably, but I believe it helps me gain a better understanding of the people and place where the music originated.

My latest Shandra Higheagle mystery which is in pre-order and releases this month is once again set on the Colville Indian Reservation in Washington state. In the book, Shandra is discovering even more about her Nez Perce roots. I have her dancing and watching traditional dance. As you might expect given what I said earlier, I listened to drumming and dance music by Blackstone a Native American drum group. They aren't Nez Perce, but I've discovered listening to various artists that while some may be heavier on flute and another on drum, they all have the same basic pulse and fluidity to them. 

The art of drumming and dance isn't lost to the Native American culture. They have regional and national Powwows where they show off their drum and dancing skills. Even their regalia-traditional style clothing they wear for the dances.   

While researching the Seven Drums Religion, Dreamer Faith, or walahsat- the religion I have Shandra's deceased grandmother having been a follower- I discovered there is little to be found about the religion. It was one of the first things the Nez Perce were forced to give up to believe in a Christian religion and not be considered a heathen when the religious sects came to the west to "civilize". It is also one more thing that divides the Lapwai treaty Nez Perce in Idaho and the Nespelem non-treaty Nez Perce in Washington.   

What I did discover about this lost religion is:
  • They always sing a song for each day of the week.
  • They move counter-clockwise with the earth
  • They jump and dance.
  • They believe the animals all have spirits.
  • That every thing is a gift-food, sight, hearing, children, everything. 
  • All gifts come from the Creator.
  • They believe in vision quests. 
While this religion is slowly coming back to the Nez Perce, I consider it a lost art. 

I share a small bit of it in my latest Shandra Higheagle release, Dangerous Dance.
Book eleven in the Shandra Higheagle Mystery Series

Jealousy… Drugs… Murder…

At the reservation to make final arrangements for her upcoming wedding, potter Shandra Higheagle gets caught up in the murder of a young woman about to turn her life around. 

Having no jurisdiction on the reservation, Detective Ryan Greer pulls in favors from friends in the FBI to make sure there is no delay in their wedding. 

However, the death occurs in a sacred place and could place the nuptials on hold. Following the clues may not only stop the wedding... but separate Shandra and Ryan for life. 


Judith Ashley said...

Oh no! Not separate Shandra and Ryan for life?!? And after all they've been through to get to a wedding? Paty, you are a diabolically clever, writer...but I believe in happily-ever-after so...now that I've caught my breath I know you will find a way for them to solve the murder and have their wedding and their HEA. I'm counting on it.

Lynn Lovegreen said...

Great hook in that last line, Paty! Enjoy the new book release!

Paty Jager said...

Judith and Lynn, Thanks! I'm hoping it will make my readers pick up the book because they have to know what happens. LOL

Maggie Lynch said...

I also listen to music from different cultures, though I must admit to a special feeling for Irish and Scottish roots music, as well as Native American flute and drumming. I do like Salsa music for a pick-me-up and a variety of Asian music from India, China, Japan just to give my ears something that is totally different in sound from Western music.

I think your book cover for Dangerous Dance is dynamite and I'm sure the hook for the story is something everyone who's read even a single Shandra HIgheagle book will want to pick up. I know I've already pre-ordered my copy. :)

Deb Noone said...

Paty - Having grown up in various places around the world, I love listening to music from different cultures. My characters aren't from different cultures, but I do listen to music that correlates with the mood I want to set, as I write - anything from classical, to jazz and blues, to country western to.... well, you get the picture. Like you said, the rhythm and beat set a mood and help me feel the emotion.

Paty Jager said...

Maggie and Deb, it doesn't surprise me that you two listen to music as you write.
Thanks Maggie! I think Christy and I did a good job of coming up with the cover. ;) Thank you for pre-ordering Dangerous Dance. I hope you enjoy reading it.

Deb, music is emotion and I love how it helps with writing. Thanks for stopping by!