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Music

 

Articles

Forgotten Aboriginal Musicians Survived Residential Schools, Police Brutality To Make These Stunning Songs

By Gregory Adams, December 2014; Huffington Post

An article on Native North America 1: Aboriginal Folk Rock.  The article tells the stories of several musicians involved with the project, a collection of music from First Nations, Inuit and Metis artists.

Native North America CD Sheds Light on Lost Era of indigenous Music

December 2014; CBC News

An article that overviews Native North America 1: Aboriginal Folk Rock and the artists behind the project.  From the article, "A new two CD collection called Native North America Vol. 1 is drawing a lot of attention to the obscure recordings of indigenous artists from the 60s, 70s, and 80s, from across Canada and the northern United States." 

A Controversial Juno Category:  Does Award for Aboriginal Album Promote or Pigeonhole First Nations Culture?

By Patrick Langston, March 20, 2012; Ottawa Citizen.
 
From the article:  "There’s a nominee who’s a straight-up country musician. There’s a bluesman. And a duo that blends traditional powwow music with decidedly non-First Nations house music.
So what exactly makes an act eligible for the Junos’ Aboriginal Recording of the Year category?
And considering the history of native peoples in Canada, is having such a category perpetuating apartness?  “It’s not a racial category, it’s a musical category,” says Brian Wright-McLeod, a Dakota-Anishnabe and chair of the Junos’ aboriginal category. Eligible styles include all traditional forms, hand drums and traditional flutes, Inuit throat singing, and Métis and other fiddling. Also eligible are fusions of all genres of contemporary music that incorporate the eligible styles and/or reflect the aboriginal experience in Canada through words or music."

Top 5 Aboriginal Albums of 2013

CBC Music Blog.

From the website: We enlisted the help of Winnipeg radio personality Melissa Spence to give us the lowdown on 2013's best albums from Aboriginal artists.

CBC Interview with Thomson Highway

From the website: Playwright and novelist Tomson Highway is one of Canada's most important storytellers. His ground-breaking plays have put Aboriginal stories on the international stage. He's won numerous awards for his multifaceted works. And he was the first Aboriginal writer to be named to the Order of Canada.

Now, at age 62,  Highway has produced a beautiful recording of songs. His album, The (Post) Mistress, showcase songs from the one-woman play of the same name. He joins Jian to discuss his journey thus far, and why he decided it was time for a soundtrack.

 

Film & Video

MTV’s Rebel Music: Native America

Link to the Episode

Link to the Lesson Plans

From the website: “Around the world, young people are taking a stand.  They refuse to accept current social and political barriers, and are raising their voices to demand change for a better future.  They are the driving force of political upheaval today.  They know what they want. They are fearless -– often putting their lives on the line.  And their common expression is music. The anthems of protest rise up in underground punk-rock shows in Yangon. Revolutionary hip-hop in the barrios of Caracas. Drumbeats in Istanbul street protests. The pulse of electronic dance music across Native American communities in North America.  The soundtrack is global. And the noise is amplifying as youth connect with each other, onstage and online, and find their collective strength to ignite change for the future on a surge of sound and ideas. Rebel Music is their story.”

In this episode of MTV’s series “Rebel Music” viewers are given a chance to see “Native America”.  The episode features young native artists Frank Waln, Inez Jasper, Mike Cliff and Nataanii Means.  As they talk about their experiences, communities and music, each of these artists helps to paint the changing landscape for native youth across Canada and the United States.  The episode itself covers issues including the alarmingly high rates of missing and murdered aboriginal women, land disputes across North America, life on reserves and Native activism.  Along with the release of this episode of the show, MTV has also provided detailed lesson plans for educators who may want to use the episode as an aid in teaching this content.  

Buffy

By John Walker, National Film Board, 2010.  (6:16 mins)

Synopsis from the NFB website:  Folk music icon Buffy Sainte-Marie became internationally renowned with her protest song "Universal Soldier." In this short documentary, she candidly discusses her hopes, creative vision and songwriting skills, as well as her role as an Aboriginal activist. Still a vibrant artist fifty years into her career, she keeps her eyes set on the future.

Spy Dénommé-Welch

Spy Dénommé-Welch is a multi-disciplinary artist and scholar who has written and produced work for theatre, short film and opera. Spy is the founder and Artistic Director of An Indie(n) Rights Reserve, an independent company that has recently co-produced the innovative, full-length opera Giiwedin. His works have been shown at festivals, theatres, galleries and conferences both in Canada and internationally, and he has been published in journals such as Canadian Journal of Native Education and Canadian Theatre Review. He graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.A.H., earned his M.A. in Interdisciplinary Studies and is now completing his PhD in Education at York University on the topic of Indigenous music, opera and pedagogy.

Image of a woman weaving with beads and thread captured from the Giiwedin video

Video: Giiwedin

Libretto and Story by: Spy Dénommé-Welch
Music by: Catherine Magowan & Spy Dénommé-Welch

 Written in Anishnaabemowin, French and English, Giiwedin spans multiple centuries and genres, telling the story of Noodin-Kwe’s struggle to protect her ancestral land. Set in Northeastern Ontario, this opera explores early history and its effect on modern-day Canada.

Wab Kinew

From the website: Wab Kinew (pron: WOB ka-NOO) is a one-of-a-kind talent, named by Postmedia News as one of “9 Aboriginal movers and shakers you should know”. He hosted the acclaimed CBC Television series “8th Fire”. His hip-hop has won an Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Award. His journalism has won an Adrienne Clarkson RTNDA Award, a Gabriel Award and been nominated for a Gemini Award. He has a BA in Economics and is a member of the Midewin.

A Tribe Called Red

In 2008, DJ’s NDN and Bear Witness founded A Tribe Called Red adding two-time Canadian DMC champ, DJ Shub to the crew in 2010. ATCR creates an never before heard sound made up of a wide variety of musical styles ranging from Hip-Hop, Dance Hall, Electronic, and their own mash-up of club and Pow Wow music, known as Pow Wow Step that is quickly gaining respect from all kinds of communities from all around the world.

National Post Article: “We want people to dance, so we use songs that are meant for people to dance to,” he says. “We won’t use sacred songs, such as ‘honour’ or ‘grand entry’ songs, which aren’t even allowed to be recorded. We have way too much respect for the tradition to do that.”

Winnipeg's Most

Winnipeg's Most is a hip hop group made up of the MCs Jon-C (Billy Pierson), Charlie Fettah (Tyler Rogers), and Brooklyn (Jamie Prefontaine).  They are based in the city of Winnipeg, Manitoba. Jon-C and Brooklyn are both Aboriginal artists, and the group was recently featured in the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation documentary series 8th fire.

IsKwé

From the website: Committed to giving back to the Native community, IsKwé has focused on promoting positive change and education through facilitating youth workshops with a large focus on music and the arts, as well as supporting various native youth organizations, both in Canada and the USA. In 2008, she was invited to perform at the Democratic National Convention in Denver, CO, for the Native Nations Uniting for Change gala at the Denver Art Museum. In addition, she has performed at such events as Aboriginal Music Week in Winnipeg, MB, NAYA's fundraising gala at the Portland Art Museum, the Canadian Aboriginal Festival in Toronto, ON, the Gathering of Nations in Albuquerque, NM and various music festivals.

Inuit Artists

Tanya Tagaq - Throat Singing Lesson

Simeonie Keenainak

Button accordionist

Charlie Adams - Quviasuppunga

I'm happy

Susan Aglukark - Osiem

Beatrice Deer - Ilaapik

Elisapie Isaac - Inuk

The Jerry Cans

From the website: "The Jerry Cans will take you on a stroll through Iqaluit, Nunavut with their unique mix of Inuktitut country swing, throat singing, reggae, and blues, sharing a glimpse of life in Nunavut while challenging misrepresentation of the great white north. Nunavuttitut! Nunavut Style!

Lesson Plans

The Tipi, The Circle Model, The Powwow

Blackfoot Nation Lesson Plan (Grades 1-6; Level Primary/Junior)

Soundscape Composition Through the Medicine Wheel

Created by Devin Davis, Cindilee Little Eagle Ecker-Flagg, Cindy Fairbank, Douglas Friesen, ALison Kenny -Gardhouse, Suzanne Methot, Nancy Steele, Leslie Stewart-Rose, OISE/UT, 2011.

"A music composition lesson (instrumental or vocal) connecting aboriginal/indigenous people to the contemporary environment of students and their sense of place and empathy." (Grade 5 and up; Level Junior/Intermediate/Senior)

 

Resources

 

John Arcand: Master of the Métis Fiddle

From the website: "Métis fiddling is a style all its own, and, when you think of this unique cultural music, one fiddler stands out!  John Arcand is the undisputed “Master of the Métis Fiddle”.  Music CDs are available to order from the website.

Listen to Allen Sapp perform songs from his childhood

This webpage provides links to six songs performed by Allen Sapp.

Native Drums

A Canadian Heritage website of resources on First Nations drums and music for students, teachers, and scholars.

Native Dance

A Canadian Heritage website of resources on First Nations dance, including stories, interviews, images, and footage.

Native North America 1: Aboriginal Folk Rock Original Recording Remastered

From Amazon: "Two CD edition of this 2014 collection. Largely unheard, criminally undocumented, but at their core, utterly revolutionary, the recordings of the diverse North American Aboriginal community will finally take their rightful place in our collective history in the form of NATIVE NORTH AMERICA (VOL. 1): ABORIGINAL FOLK, ROCK, AND COUNTRY 1966-1985. An anthology of music that was once near-extinct and off-the-grid is now available for all to hear, in what is, without a doubt, Light In The Attic's most ambitious and historically significant project in the label's 12-year journey. NATIVE NORTH AMERICA (VOL. 1) features music from the Indigenous peoples of Canada and the northern United States, recorded in the turbulent decades between 1966 to 1985. It represents the fusion of shifting global popular culture and a reawakening of Aboriginal spirituality and expression. The majority of this material has been widely unavailable for decades, hindered by lack of distribution or industry support and by limited mass media coverage, until now. You'll hear Arctic garage rock from the Nunavik region of northern Quebec, melancholy Yup'ik folk from Alaska, and hushed country blues from the Wagmatcook First Nation reserve in Nova Scotia. You'll hear echoes of Neil Young, Velvet Underground, Leonard Cohen, Creedence Clearwater Revival, Johnny Cash, and more among the songs, but injected with Native consciousness, storytelling, poetry, history, and ceremony."

A Toronto-based contemporary performance company spanning indigenous dance, music, and theatre.

Native Hip-Hop

A website for Indigenous hip hop and rap artists.

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