Five Indigenous artists for a 2022 Indigenous Peoples Day playlist

Indigenous musicians recommended by Indigenous musicians to listen to this 2022 Indigenous Peoples Day

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One of the most talked about records of 2022 so far is Niineta by Minneapolis-based Ojibwe Pow Wow singer Joe Rainey.

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Blending both Rainey’s original vocal freestyles coupled with bass-heavy beats courtesy of Andrew Broder, a.k.a. the electronic artist Fog, Niineta is a perfect example of how contemporary Indigenous artists are taking traditional techniques into technological domains with great success.  In a recent interview, Rainey talked about the similarities between his home base and Winnipeg, MB. Both cities boast very large Indigenous populations and arts scenes.

On an earlier visit to the city, Rainey was introduced to the music of Hamilton-based, Manitoba-born and raised Ojibway artist Daniel Monkman, who records as Zoon. Rainey said Zoon’s Bleached Wavves debut was a favourite album and he looks forward to diving into more Canadian-based Indigenous musical offerings. He would also like to get out to B.C., to meet one of his unlikely heroes.

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“That’s where Narduwar comes from and I love that guy,” said Rainey. “He’s taught me a lot about music over the years ever watching his interviews and the genuine reactions he gets from people when he pulls out their old records and stuff. I’ve been lucky to to get turned on to some excellent music coming out of Canada thanks to him and, also, now Zoon.”

Inspired by Rainey’s mention and his amazing record, putting together a 5 songs playlist to celebrate 2022 Indigenous Peoples Day seemed like a good idea. Here it is and keep adding your own picks:

1 – DJ O Show: Status & Clarity

This two-spirited Afro-Indigenous member of the Squamish Nation has been spinning sets for a few years and building a solid foundation. Her hip-hop debut investigates “the truth about growing up in her Sḵwx̱wú7mesh community and the work that needs to be done for future generations.”

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DJ O Show spins on June 25, 11 p.m. at the Ocean Art Works, 1531 Johnston St., Granville Island as part of the 2022 TD Vancouver International Jazz Festival. 

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2 – nêhiyawak: Secret

This amiskwaciy (Edmonton) trio of Kris Harper, Marek Tyler and Matthew Cardinal dropped its impressive debut nipiy in 2020. The latest video is for the song secret and directed by Dene multidisciplinary artist Casey Koyczan, The song is filled with “blooming colour and movement break through the dark undertones and mysticism to symbolize the resilience and strength of our Indigenous practices and traditions defiant of political, economic, and societal oppression.”

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The pairing of Joe Rainey’s recommended Zoon and and Status/Non-Status (a.k.a. Adam Sturgeon) in this project which roughly translates as s/he is noisy has produced gems of songs paired with political lyrics. The band’s debut, titled Sewn Back Together was recently named to the 2022 Polaris Music Prize longlist.

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2 – Richard Inman: Cut Fence (Let God Sort Em Out)

His mother hails from Kainai, Alberta, but was adopted by Mormons and grew up in Spring Hill, Manitoba. He had a Mennonite upbringing in Southwestern Manitoba, but spends a fair amount of time in Alberta. Singer/songwriter Richard Inman never identified as an Indigenous artist coming up the ranks, but has come to work within it in recent years. His complex history is a familiar one to many and makes albums such as his brilliant Come Back Through some of the most authentic honky tonk country you can find.

Richard Inman and Amber Nielson will appear as Fortune Block at the Vancouver International Folk Festival, July 15 – 17.

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Snotty Nose Rez Kids (l-r)Quinton Young Trybez Nyce and Darren Young D Metz
Snotty Nose Rez Kids (l-r)Quinton Young Trybez Nyce and Darren Young D Metz Photo by Brendan Meadows /PNG

5 – Snotty Nose Rez Kids – Red Sky At Night (Remix) feat. Shad, Tabuu

Another group to appear on the 2022 Polaris Prize longlist are the beloved Haisla duo of Quinton “Young Trybez” Nyce and Darren “Young D” Metz. With its most recent album, Life After, the group has hit a high point in its fierce and funky words and beat-play. Just check this slamming remix of one of the albums’ best tracks.

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