Deleted Songs Analysis: Dancing to the Wedding Drum

Hello everyone, and this week’s song is “Dancing to the Wedding Drum”, which is a deleted song from Pocahontas. My overall opinion is that I like the song, and it’s for one main reason; it gives the Powhatan tribe more character and focus. We see more about what their traditions are like, how they make their homes, function, and how they interact with one another. It’s very obvious that it was replaced by “Steady as the Beating Drum”. I might as well talk about the differences between the two; the latter does not incorporate any of the main characters, while the former incorporates Pocahontas and Kocuom.


The lyrics of the song starts with “Oysters for the wedding feast. Wheat and corn to make the cakes, chinquapin and succotash. Venison and turtle steaks.” What I like about these simple lyrics is that it explains so much about the Powhatan culture, and it has men, women, and children reading, so it alternates perspectives regarding age and gender. They continue with lines like, “See the colors for your dress, indigo and golden seal. Purple for the love you share, yellow for the joy you feel. Pocahontas, see your cape; how it sparkles; yes, it does. She will be a lovely bride, just the way her mother was.” It’s the little things that sets up and develops the setting so much.

What I also notice about Kocuom in the song is that he seems a lot more upbeat, despite still being protective. I think they cut out his singing to make him a bit more unlikable, and so we could root for John Smith even more. It is also a bit weird for someone so serious to sing. Pocahontas’ lyrics mostly consists of her resisting him more than anything else. It was like this song was partially an “I Want” song, without going all the way.

It is pretty easy to see why this was deleted for many reasons. One of them was to make Kocuom a lot more serious, and a bit less sympathetic in general. Another reason is because Pocahontas had many other opportunities to sing about what she does or does not want, so it was redundant for her to do it here. I also think that they wanted a strong contrast between the Europeans and Natives, so they used the final version of the song as a tool to do so. Overall, it’s a fine song, but I understand why it’s cut, and not one I really miss that much.




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