VOICES of the KOAS drum group is made up of woman from the Koasek Traditional Band of the Koas Abenaki Nation. They are taking Vermont and New Hampshire by storm singing at schools and events. It has been said that they have the voices like a choir of angels singing Traditional Abenaki Music. Voices VOICES of the KOAS are sponsored by the White Pines Association. VOICES of the Koas members include: Rebecca Bailey, Colleen Chase. Amy Hook-Therrien., Peggy Fullerton, Carrie Gendreau, Cheryl Prescott, Nancy Rivera, Roseanne Stoops and
Teaching through MUSIC, DANCE & GAMES Through the singing of historic Abenaki songs, teaching of the old songs, dances and games intermingled with stories. The VOICES of the Koasek educate audiences both young and old. Dressed in period clothes, playing traditional hand drums and gourd rattles the audience learns about the people who live in the Upper Connecticut River Valley before there were States. Music is a common language, even when sung in a foreign tongue it can touch the heart and open one’s mind to new understanding. To have VOICES of the Koasek go into a school, dressed as native woman would have dressed, and sing the Wabanaki lullaby, is more than a glimpse into the past for those watching and listening as the first woman starts singing “Gailoh nees oot kwassin (the drum quietly beating in the background)
Oo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo-ooo” the second woman joins in (with a second drum beat) and then eventually the third and so on… a round, (but not)- a vision begins to immerge; a clearing in the woods, the moon low in the sky, and fires burning. Mothers’ voices scattered around the village singing to their sleepy children. The Abenaki, Native American have now become mothers and care givers… tender and loving. For a time the atrocities the public often connects with Natives are gone, they see people not unlike themselves, who sing or who have been sung to while on the verge of sleep. The voices wrap around you, the past encompasses you. Understanding begins to form… A connection begins to take shape… An openness of heart and mind begins to emerge. The Abenaki culture reaches out and takes your hand and as the next song starts, it pulls you along on a journey into the past. A journey we hope will affect the next seven generations.
Copyright 2013 VERMONT ABENAKI ARTIST ASSOCIATION. All rights reserved.