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Alex Douglas-Kane shares her experiences and understanding of Discover Nature Awareness

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

Sacred songs should not be changed

While attending the Art of Mentoring (AoM) UK last week near oxford. Paul Raphael an Odawa Peacemaker, (from Michigan in the USA) talked about the importance of not changing some songs. The reason for this is that they are sacred and must remain in their original form. I can fully understand this, if you change it in any way you take away the original meaning and therefore it is no longer honouring the person or persons in the way that the song was intended to do.

However, some songs can be changed.

This got me thinking about bird songs, many birds to do change their songs however, some do not, birds even have regional accents just as we do. I was thinking about the Marsh Warbler for example as with a lot of warblers their songs change as each year goes by, sometimes you will be walking a long a reed bed somewhere in the UK and you will hear a song that takes you back to Africa, because the song has been borrowed from an African bird and incorporated into the Marsh Warblers song.

When we travel by that I mean western people and we visit indigenous communities around the world, we also borrow songs because we love them and they have such powerful meanings and we would like to share them with others. But I am guessing because of the language differences and even our regional accents these songs are changed from their original form and without intending it we have been disrespectful to the original intent.

Here are two birds that were singing well at the AoM these songs do not change.

Chiff Chaff (phylloscopus-collybitus)

Skylark (Alauda arvensis).

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