- Musicians, painters, performance artists, you name it…we’re so much more than gift-shop variety talent! This will always be a page in progress and is a very small sample of the incredibly aboriginal art out there.
- Alex Janvier is my absolute, ultimate, most favourite artist in existence. Every time I come across a piece of his work…at the home of a law school professor, on the walls of a school, in the National Gallery…I spend an inordinate amount of time just drinking it in. From Cold Lake First Nation, Alex has received numerous awards for his ground-breaking work including the Order of Canada. If I could only have one piece of art in my home, it would be one of his pieces.
With that in mind, I luckily have no such restrictions (or the money to actually have an original Janvier work) so I turn to another favourite of mine, Christ Belcourt!
- as I explain in the ‘About’ page, Christi Belcourt is Métis, and traces her lineage back to my home community of Lac Ste. Anne, Alberta. As if that weren’t enough reason to love her, she does absolutely stunning work in the style of beadwork. She has also done some projects involving medicinal plant use and there is a beautifully illustrated book that I covet intensely called, “Medicines To Help Us: Traditional Métis Plant Use”.
- Allen Sapp is Cree from Red Pheasant, Saskatchewan who currently lives in North Battleford. He has a very distinct style, and you will probably find yourself recognising a number of his pieces.
Laird Goulet is Métis from the Pas and I’ve just discovered his awesome paintings.
- Jason Carter is from Little Red River Cree Nation in northern Alberta, and I just ran across his work recently on tumblr. And now I want it all.
I can’t believe I haven’t put him up here yet! Another Métis artist (notice his coat was beaded by Lisa Shepard, arbitrarily featured in the artisan section despite the fact I do indeed consider her work to be art) who has also worked with author David Bouchard.
Artist and professor, I first came across his Cowboys and Indians (and Métis?) series, and really liked the way he delved visually into Métis identity issues.
- Steve Keewatin Sanderson is a graphic artist whose work on comic books is inspiring to see. He presents strong native characters in both modern and traditional settings, and honestly I want everything he has ever drawn so my kids don’t have to keep seeing themselves portrayed by people who disrespect our culture with their ignorance. Awesome, awesome, miywâsin.
- Art sings songs in Cree for children and adults alike. His style is very folksy/country and he is a busy, busy man, currently on tour in Europe spreading the Cree word
- This trio sing in Cree and English and pack a serious vocal punch. They create beautiful rhythms with drum and voice and I highly recommend checking them out.
- Samian is an Anishnabe rapper from Pikogan First Nation here in Quebec. He raps in French and in Anishnabemowin, and really touches on historical and present issues faced by First Nations in Canada. Political and melodic, his music is not your average fare and I’d urge you to check out his work on youtube even if you don’t speak French or Anishnabemowin! Also, if you want to memorise the names of all 11 First Nations in Quebec (I dunno, for a test or something), you’ve got to put Mino Picaok on your permanent playlist…the best crowd chant/sing-along I’ve ever participated in!
Just a personal addition, a few months ago I went to see Samian and Shauit (an Innu reggae artist) along with a number of other artists from 7ieme Ciel Records at Club Soda here in Montreal. It was $15 and the show was hands down one of the best I have ever seen. Of course, the fact that I was listening to live performances in Anishnabemowin and Innu-aiman had much to do with how I felt about the whole thing, but this was a seriously good show. Hats off to the Fancy Dancer who danced his butt of in the heat of the club!
My favourite part was that when we walked in, the upstairs section was cordoned off and I joked to my partner that Samian’s family was probably all up there (cuz you know how we do!) and sure enough…when he came on stage he waved to all of them and the crowd went wild :D That show really felt familiar in ever sense. Samian and Shauit do not just talk the talk, they live it and you get to be a small part of that at their shows. The francophone solidarity displayed by Andoja and Loco Locas was wicked. Powerful stuff.
This Juno-winning James Bay Cree due from Eeyou Istchee provide a mixture of English and Cree language music tackling the past, present and future of their people.
- Moe Clark is not strictly speaking a musician, but she does dabble enough that I’ll put her in here. A Métis artist, she does spoken word and has produced some really amazing videos. She’s sort of all around the scene here in Montreal and elsewhere and creates some great stuff.
Dolores is the eldest daughter of the late Freda Ahenakew and has produced a number of recordings in Cree. You can hear one of her songs here.
- Shamelessly self-plugging, here are songs I have written in Plains Cree with explanations of the songs included with the videos. I recorded these in my living room where I am most comfortable performing
- This Anishnaabe rapper hails from Winnipeg. Two of my favourite songs of Kinew’s are The Last Word and Heroes. Those of you in Manitoba will also recognise this handsome and talented rapper as a CBC anchor :D Yes, I said it, we’ve got some hotties out there!
- Red Power Squad is fairly well known for their workshops in native communities, promoting hip hop and breakdancing to the youth. One of their members, Conway Kootenay, has also been putting out fantastic albums. I’ve given you the Facebook link because their website is currently down. Check this video out…Emcee …inspiring stuff. I think my favourite line is, “All I hear is talk about stuff that’s illegal…try saying something that will uplift your people!” Another great dance song is That Flow…Conway K in cowboy gear is hilarious :D They partnered with the always hilarious Don Burnstick to produce this song…What’s Really Rez.
- A country music favourite from Hobbema.
- 1491s : a sketch comedy group, coming out with some great material!