Lakota Country Times: New group rekindles ancient tribal alliance

Powwow Times on YouTube: Show Time Singers @ Gathering of Nations 2016

Ancient Alliance Rekindled
Debut Of “Showtime”
By Brandon Ecoffey
Lakota Country Times Editor

RAPID CITY – The Lakota, Nakota, Dakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapaho people have stood by each other for centuries. One new drum group looks to honor that legacy by forming itself in the likeness of this historic alliance.

Coming off a fifth place finish in one of the most competitive pow-wow singing contests in North America at the Gathering of Nations pow-wow in Albuquerque, NM, Show Time has just released its debut album "Live From Big Sky."

The new drum consisting of some of the top young singers from the northern plains was the brainchild of several of its members who saw other super-groups being formed in different regions of the country.

“The idea was the we wanted to do a collaborative of Dakota, Nakota, Lakota, Northern Cheyenne and Arapahoe singers,” said Brandon Braveheart, who is a member of Show Time. “All the members of the group have lineage to one of these tribal-nations. We come from the same people who defeated Custer at Little Big Horn,” he added.

According to Brave Heart the inspiration for the name of the group came to lead singer Novi Runs Above first.

“Our lead singer called me one day and told me that he had an idea for a name. When he told me about the name “Show Time” I knew right away that this was the one. I just thought it was pretty cool for it to come to us.”

The cover art for Live from Big Sky, the debut release from the Show Time Singers.

In the year leading up to the creation of Show Time members of the yet to be formed group lost a friend and fellow singer in Foster “Boomer” Cournoyer who passed away as a results of complications during surgery. The death hit many of them hard and singing had been put on the back burner until Runs Above moved back to South Dakota permanently and encouraged Braveheart and others to pick up their sticks once again.

“We hadn’t really been singing much until Novi came around and started encouraging us to start up,” said Braveheart. “It was then that things started to come together and we were able to organize and record this album.”

Although the group is new, its members are all familiar with each other from the pow-wow circuit and all come from a background of singing that reflects traditional northern plains cultural norms.

“Our album is all straight songs that do not include the use of words,” said Braveheart. “When I was growing up Matt and Nellie Two Bulls would have social gatherings at their place in #4 between Pine Ridge and Oglala. They would put on a feast and have a small pow-wow type gathering that was all about meeting new people and reconnecting with relatives. That is how I remembered them singing there.” He would go on to add that prior to the creation of big money singing contests the majority of singing at social dances was done in the straight style.

The straight style of singing consists of melodies sang over the beat of the drum and do not use words in the songs. Contemporary style on the other hand uses words liberally and also integrates different uses of the drum than those found in traditional straight style singing.

“In the late ‘80s and early ‘90s groups like Eyabay, Stony Park and The Boyz really made the contemporary style popular,” said Braveheart. “Then in the early 2000’s the original style of singing started to make a comeback with the arrival of groups like High Noon, Battle River and Red Bull."

Visit the Lakota Country Times and subscribe today

He would go on to say that most members of the group passed through a “phase” where they “veered off” in to the contemporary style but that they eventually came back to their original ways.

Show Time dedicated their debut album “to recognizing celebrated loved ones who have gone onto the spirit world: The Late Alvin Slow Bear, Oliver "Butch" Mousseaux, Foster "Boomer" Cournoyer, Molly Lafferty, Eva Kellis Smith, Bernice Smith, Jason "Tek" King, Delray "Chubbs" Smith, Terry St John, Willard Okanee and Lloyd Top Sky.” And they offer a special gratitude to “Yates White Buffalo for making this a successful recording.”

In the inside cover of the new album it reads, “With many inspirational influences through Life's teachings, Show Time gives thanks first and foremost to Tunkasila Wakan Tanka for all the many blessings. Acknowledgments of appreciation for the encouragement goes out to; our Spiritual and Ceremonial relations of the Sundance Circle, the Native American Church and the Long House. Wopila Tanka to our immediate, extended and adopted family and friends, your support and sacrifice is appreciated very much! Last but not least we give a BIG shout out to the Powwow Family throughout Turtle Island.”

"We just want to rock and roll, produce good music and make the people feel good."

The new album can be purchased by emailing Braveheart at

(Contact Brandon Ecoffey at

Find the award-winning Lakota Country Times on the Internet, Facebook and Twitter and download the new Lakota Country Times app today.

Join the Conversation