Music | Cherokee, NC

How will Cherokee affect you?

Cherokee music to rouse your spirit.

Cherokee music has been influenced by many other cultures and includes a wide variety of instruments. Flutes, drums, and rattles are some of the most ancient. As music in America has evolved, so has Cherokee music. Over time Cherokee music has come to include the fiddle, percussion tools, guitar, mandolin, and many more instruments. Cherokee musicians play everything from traditional Native American music, to bluegrass and rock and roll. In Native American history, music is considered sacred; it is often used for healing and building community connections. Tribes carry on their musical traditions by passing them down to the next generation.

 The voices of Cherokee.
Lyrics and vocals in Cherokee music often include tribal stories and chanting. Along with an assortment of traditional and modern instruments, vocals are employed to create a strong rhythmic beat that is ideal for ritual dancing. Until the 1800s, when the Cherokee written language was invented, Cherokee legends were passed down orally through music, song, and dance. When Cherokee Indians sing traditional tribal songs, the intention is to invoke the power of the spirit world—to ask for healing or a plentiful harvest, and to show gratitude to the earth. Many tribal storytellers are accompanied by musical accompaniment. Recordings of Cherokee music can be found at Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual, of which many of the musicians are members. Contact or visit Qualla Arts and Crafts Mutual during your visit to Cherokee to learn more.

Influences of Cherokee Music: sonic shades of the English, Scottish, 
and African.

In the 18th century Cherokee music was changed by the introduction of new instruments and musical sensibilities. Some experts say both English and Scottish traders exposed the Cherokee Indians to fiddle playing. Music in the southeastern United States was at the same time being dramatically changed by African music influences burgeoning throughout the South, which in turn influenced Cherokee music. In the 19th century Moravian, Presbyterian, and Baptist missionaries began to teach tribal members hymns and sacred Christian music. Since that time the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians has preserved traditions of fiddle music, English and Cherokee hymns, and ancient tribal songs—which makes for an intriguing and beautiful melting pot of musical expression.

Celebrate traditional music in Cherokee, North Carolina.

The Museum of the Cherokee Indian hosts the unforgettable Cherokee Voices Festival, a unique retrospective of traditional and current Cherokee musical performance. Indeed, many of the events offered, provide an exuberant showcase of Cherokee music, dance, and art.

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