Turtle Island Storyteller Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke

Kevin Locke

Buffalo Dance Song

Well, that is a traditional song. It really is a traditional song, but it’s a Buffalo Dance song.

I used to travel around with this group from Rosebud. It was Ben Black Bear, Sr. and Lloyd One Star and the old Iron Wood Singers. A group of us performed different traditional dances.

In one of the song, in one of the dances was a Buffalo Dance. Ben Black Bear had this song. He was really a treasure, just a walking encyclopedia of traditional knowledge. He had this real beautiful Buffalo Dance song.

I’ve never heard it since then. That was the only time. Nobody’s used it. You know, it’s been like thirty years since I’ve heard them sing it. 

So then, I just love that tune. I thought, well, I’ll use it, you know. It’s a beautiful song and what it’s saying is about the force that moves the buffalo over the country.

“I appear with a visible face,” It says, “Ite taninyan hibuwelo”.

Then, “Mitamakoceki tatanka omani wagage.” “I am the one that causes the buffalo to roam over your land.” That’s what that says “I am the one.”

That song, it’s kind of a mysterious thing, but it’s like the Power that causes the buffalo to move over this land. That’s the voice that’s talking in that song.

That to me is really the sign of true art. There may be a meaning that you know about, that you have in mind, but really great art that transcends in one individual’s vision of what it is. It has too. ‘Cause otherwise, how could it last?

Also in that recording there is some virtuosic levels of musicianship in there. There are some great musicians in there. , I really felt humbled when I was with some of those guys because they’re really top of the line. You can hear that tenor sax in there, the guy on keyboards and everything. Have you heard that? You didn’t hear it yet? There’s just some great musicians going on in there. Well, you would know that. You’re, in the business.