CBC Music | 60 Indigenous Game Changers

2020-03-05 3:00:00 AM

From Buffy Sainte-Marie to Jeremy Dutcher, celebrate the artists who have broken boundaries, claimed space and given their communities a voice. | CBCMusic

Read a Laura Vinson testimonial from Crystal ShawandaImage credit: Courtesy C-Weed BandHigh and DryThe pioneering metal band from the Inuit community of Igloolik, Nunavut, took the Indigenous world by storm in the 1980s, releasing what is thought to be North America’s first rock album recorded in Inuktitut. From its beginnings in 1984 as a local community band, Northern Haze began to gain recognition across the North, releasing its self-titled debut album in 1985. On it, Kolatalik Inukshuk’s voice blares over fuzzy guitars and heavy bass, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. That album sent Northern Haze touring across the country, spreading its heavy northern metal sound. New material was not hard to come by, but the lack of recording infrastructure in the high north made a follow-up album all but a dream. Then in 2007, the band was struck twice by tragedy: founding member Elijah Kunnuk died from cancer, and original lead singer and frontman, Kolatalik Inukshuk, was murdered. To call the band legendary in Nunavut is an understatement; its members have inspired generations of Inuit musicians to rock out. Juno Award-winning Nunavut band the Jerry Cans are among those who consider Northern Haze an inspiration, coming full circle when they produced and released Northern Haze’s followup album, 2018’s

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MY TAKE WITH SHELDON MacLEOD: Newsmakers in the news | SaltWire

It's never easy to lose a job. And it's even more devastating when all of it happens publicly. I have a tremendous amount of respect for Lisa LaFlamme. And ... Read more >>

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As the 'Dirtbag Left' reaches Super Tuesday, the ground is shifting under their feet | CBC NewsThe campaigns of three candidates who have withdrawn from the Democratic nomination for the U.S. presidency were important parts of the Dirtbag Left's strategy for electing Bernie Sanders. On Super Tuesday, the group's earlier excitement appears at best premature.

UCP budget almost doubles 2020 tax hike for Calgary homeowners | CBC NewsResidential property taxes in Calgary are going up 8.9 per cent this year due to increases from the city and the provincial education property tax. | CBCCalgary Calgary Ommmzzz Calgary None off thesd government people can handle money Calgary

CBC Gemcbcdocs I love this doctor, he clearly loves what he does when he is still practicing at 102 years of age!,,😬 cbcdocs cbcdocs That’s outstanding commitment and dedication, also an inspiration to upcoming physicians, undoubtedly he is one unique doctor and his long career is part of his identity.

Photo series shows Saint John's poorest suffer most from industrial pollution | CBC News'You find such tenacity and such heart and soul in these kind of cities where people are adjusting and finding ways to live their life.' | CBCNB

Ex-university student acquitted in naked, magic mushroom-fuelled attack on professor | CBC NewsA former Calgary university student, who broke into a professor's home while naked and high on magic mushrooms and beat her badly with a broom handle, has been acquitted — with his case, a prosecutor says, likely the only successful defence of extreme intoxication related to magic mushrooms. Calgary WTF he willingly took the substance. Calgary WOW...that doesn’t seem like justice to me...☹️☹️☹️ Calgary This is disgusting. A man willingly takes a drug to get high and commits a crime by viciously attacking a woman but doesn't have to suffer the consequences of HIS own actions. calgary justice

Seattle CEO who pays workers at least $70K US says it's paying off in spades | CBC RadioIt's been five years since Dan Price took a massive pay cut so he could raise his employees' salary — and he says the experiment has been a resounding success. cbcradio Sounds like a great guy, also fuck rush limbaugh. cbcradio 'He's telling me that the world needs another billionaire philanthropist, and I just don't know if that's the case. Because we've been relying on billionaire philanthropists for so long, and I don't really think that's working out very well for us,' he said. I agree with this. cbcradio 'I think we need to have, you know, kind of more of a justice and integrity engineered and designed into our system. I think we need to have companies where, you know, people are taken care of and given opportunities.' I agree with this statement.

’s voice has been her trademark since her 1978 debut album First Flight .Social Sharing.Social Sharing..

It wasn’t just the burnt velvet of her vocals — warm but wise — but that she sang about growing up Métis, colonization, women’s rights and mapping all the highs and lows between love and fear. From that very first album, there was a worldliness to her voice, both as a singer and a songwriter, as she carved out space for herself, and by extension fellow Métis artists as well as Indigenous artists in country music and the blues. At the start of her career, Vinson received seven Juno nominations, including five nods between 1979 and 1985 for country female vocalist of the year, and back-to-back nominations for most promising female vocalist in 1980 and 1981. She didn’t win, and even though Vinson never quite experienced the breakthrough for which she seemed destined, she has been a successful working musician her whole life and continues to perform to this day.  Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos.

Read a Laura Vinson testimonial from Crystal Shawanda As a woman, and especially in [country-blues], to be able to make that mark and to last as long as she has — you know, you have to really fight for your presence when you're trying to be in the blues world, especially as a female. It's really great that it's finally getting to a point where it's really opening up. You're seeing a lot of new artists coming out and rising up and I feel like it's because of artists like [Laura] who were opening doors and making it possible. In the music world, sometimes there's little fads and trends where this artist will find success for a small amount of time and then kind of drift away. But she's been lasting and that's what's so inspiring about her journey.

It's like, “Hey, maybe I could do that too.” Just finding that fight in yourself and trying to be better than the artist you were yesterday.  - Crystal Shawanda C-Weed Band Image credit: Courtesy C-Weed Band While members of C-Weed Band have come and gone during the band’s 40-year history, frontman Errol (C-Weed) Ranville has remained onboard as an ambassador for Indigenous music in Canada. Coming from a large musical family, the Manitoban troubadour from Sainte Rose du Lac took to music at the age of eight. In 1965, using his family nickname of C-Weed, Ranville and his siblings formed the first incarnation of C-Weed Band and continued to play in small venues throughout the 1970s.

In 1980, C-Weed Band jumped into the Canadian country music scene, topping the charts with its version of Robbie Robertson’s Evangeline , effectively making a name for itself in the world of country music. The band of Ranville brothers and friends toured extensively with their newfound fame, and once again reached the pinnacle of Canadian country music charts with their version of the Rolling Stones’ song High and Dry . A few decades and band member shuffles later, Ranville has been a driving force for Indigenous musicians, producing music and award shows. In 2005, Ranville was inducted into Manitoba’s Aboriginal Hall of Fame. Northern Haze Image credit: Josh Qaumariaq The pioneering metal band from the Inuit community of Igloolik, Nunavut, took the Indigenous world by storm in the 1980s, releasing what is thought to be North America’s first rock album recorded in Inuktitut.

From its beginnings in 1984 as a local community band, Northern Haze began to gain recognition across the North, releasing its self-titled debut album in 1985. On it, Kolatalik Inukshuk’s voice blares over fuzzy guitars and heavy bass, reminiscent of Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath. That album sent Northern Haze touring across the country, spreading its heavy northern metal sound. New material was not hard to come by, but the lack of recording infrastructure in the high north made a follow-up album all but a dream. Then in 2007, the band was struck twice by tragedy: founding member Elijah Kunnuk died from cancer, and original lead singer and frontman, Kolatalik Inukshuk, was murdered.

To call the band legendary in Nunavut is an understatement; its members have inspired generations of Inuit musicians to rock out. Juno Award-winning Nunavut band the Jerry Cans are among those who consider Northern Haze an inspiration, coming full circle when they produced and released Northern Haze’s followup album, 2018’s Siqinnaarut . Based on that album — which was 33 years in the making — Northern Haze was nominated for the newly renamed Juno for Indigenous artist or group of the year in 2020. Read more: John Kim Bell Image credit: Courtesy John Kim Bell John Kim Bell is a classically trained pianist, activist, philanthropist, artist and trailblazer. He became Canada’s first Indigenous conductor in 1980, but was a sought after conductor for Broadway musicals before that, and toured with Red Foxx, Sonny Bonno and the Bee Gees.

In 1984, the CBC released John Kim Bell: The First North American Indian Conductor, a documentary on Bell’s musical career. In 1988, Bell produced the country’s first all-Indigenous ballet, In the Land of Spirits , which received a 10-minute standing ovation on its opening night, according to a review in Macleans . Throughout his career, Bell has racked up accolade after accolade, has become an officer of the Order of Canada and a member of the Order of Ontario, has served as one of the Canadian advisers to the Prince of Wales and was one of Shania Twain’s earliest mentors. But as much as Bell accomplished professionally, he also gave back, creating several foundations geared at awarding grants to young Indigenous artists — including founding the Canadian Native Arts Foundation, the predecessor of the Indspire Awards.  1990s Autumn Smith/Mishiikenh Kwe is an Anishinaabe (Ojibwe/Odawa) artist from the Caribou Clan in Magnetawan First Nation.

She grew up listening to stories from her grandmother, aunties and community members and takes most of her inspiration from those stories, thoughts and teachings. By the ’90s, Canadian music was enjoying a boom. A major label and indie scene thrived, led by acts such as the Tragically Hip and Sarah McLachlan, and was sometimes referred to as the Canrock renaissance . Indigenous artists were able to find a large audience, such as Susan Aglukark, who became the first Inuk musician with a Top 40 hit. The Junos acknowledged the contributions of Indigenous musicians by introducing the best music of Aboriginal Canada recording category in 1994, co-founded by Sainte-Marie, Shingoose and Bomberry.

Read more: Susan Aglukark Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos. Susan Aglukark broke new ground for Inuk musicians in the ’90s. The singer, who was raised in Arviat, N.W.T.

, (now in Nunavut), became the first Inuk artist to score a Top 40 hit in Canada with her 1995 single O Siem . That track reached No. 1 on the Canadian adult contemporary and country charts, and the album it was on, This Child , later went triple platinum. Aglukark’s music combines country and pop with traditional Inuit folk traditions (she sings in both English and ) to create something that was able to cross over into the mainstream, earning her three Juno Awards, including best new solo artist in 1995. At times joyous and celebratory, such as on O Siem Aglukark has openly spoken about her experience as a survivor of childhood sexual abuse.

As an advocate for victims of abuse in Northern communities and a big supporter of today’s Indigenous youth (she is the founder of the Arctic Rose Foundation), Aglukark is determined to look ahead and help forge a brighter, stronger future. In 2005, Aglukark was appointed an officer of the Order of Canada and in 2016, she was given the Governor General’s Lifetime Achievement Award.  Read a Susan Aglukark testimonial from Jaaji of Twin Flames on the impact of O Siem Susan is a gem and we were all very proud of her and looked up to her and I never thought back then [when O Siem came out in 1995] I would be a musician. Today, she is a legend. We got to perform with her in October with the NAC [National Arts Centre] Orchestra with maestro Melanie Leonard.

It was such an honour to share the stage and sing with her. We've also had a couple of sit-ins while she sat as a keynote and it is truly inspiring to hear her talk about her journey. O Siem is still one of my favourite songs. It was our very own We Are the World : we are Inuit and we are human. —  - Jaaji of Twin Flames on the impact of O Siem Lawrence Martin Sorry, your browser doesn't support embedded videos.

When the very first Juno Award for best music of Aboriginal Canada was presented in 1994, one man’s name was read out loud: Wapistan. Lawrence Martin was born in Moose Factory, Ont., and performs under the name Wapistan, which was derived from the Cree word for marten, a small mammal popular in the fur trade. Of Cree and Irish heritage, Martin’s music is influenced by each of his cultures as much as it is by folk and country. He sings songs in both English and , sometimes dealing with Indigenous issues, cultural pride and, on a song like The Elders , of reconciliation.

He also has a knack for writing a great break-up song, such as I Got My Music . Martin also successfully pursued a career in politics, becoming mayor of Sioux Lookout in 1991, the first Indigenous person in Ontario elected as mayor of a municipality that was not also a reservation. Martin was also elected mayor of Cochrane, Ont., in the 2000s, continuing to release new music, always with a focus of marrying his two cultures. Lawrence Martin on winning the first Juno for best music of Aboriginal Canada I was able to play one of my songs called Elders [at the Junos ceremony], and as soon as I finished the song, I was told to just go stand off to the side of the stage behind the curtain and to listen to the announcement.

I hear, “The winner is Wapistan is Lawrence Martin!" Oh shit! I go out there and then I see the crowd and I just freeze. I didn't know what to say so I started speaking in Cree just to give myself a little bit of breathing space and finally start getting my thoughts together and I spoke in English and my children were just screaming their heads off. That's all I could hear; I recognized their screams.  Read more in our Murray Porter Image credit: Facebook/Murray Porter With a 30-year career singing and playing blues piano, Murray Porter has never shied away from facing Indigenous issues head on through his music. A member of the Turtle Clan, hailing from Six Nations of the Grand River, Porter takes on subjects such as residential schools, Idle No More and water protection with grace and power, his gravelly voice singing of love and life as he knows it.

Porter continues to be a force in the Canadian music scene, winning the 2012 Juno Award for Aboriginal album of the year for his album Songs Lived & Life Played . He is recognized as one of the premier musicians in his longtime home of Vancouver, where in 2010 he performed at the opening ceremonies of the Vancouver Winter Olympics. Considered far and wide as a master bluesman, Porter has graced the stage with such other legendary acts as B.B. King, Mavis Staples and Etta James.

The living blues legend continues to play shows across British Columbia and tours widely.  Hubert Francis Image credit: Courtesy Hubert Francis Mi’kmaw rocker Hubert Francis, from the community of Elsipogtog, N.B., began performing with his rock band Eagle Feather in 1990, gaining commercial success with their straightforward rock hits. But in the early '90s, while performing in clubs, Francis was hit hard by the self-destruction that comes with drugs, alcohol and rock 'n' roll, and decided to change his sound.

"I kept seeing myself in those people at the bar and realized our people needed more Indian heroes, especially the youth," Francis explained in a 1999 interview ."They needed more positive role models in the music industry." Francis returned to his Mi’kmaw roots, a move that changed his approach to life and music. His music ranges from folk to country to rock, and is steeped heavily in First Nations culture, stories and lessons. Over its 30 years, Eagle Feather has released three albums and received many nominations, including multiple Juno Awards, East Coast Music Awards (ECMAs) and Native American Music Awards.

In 2019, Francis received the Helen Creighton Lifetime Achievement Award at the ECMAs for his “ ” on Atlantic Canadian music. Jerry Alfred Image credit: Courtesy Jerry Alfred When he was born, Jerry Alfred was named “Song Keeper,” a traditional honour given by the Northern Tutchone people located through central Yukon. The title gave him the responsibility of collecting traditional songs and performing them at ceremonies and gatherings. In his early life, Alfred spoke the Northern  Tutchone language, and was able to maintain it despite spending years in the residential school system. While in residential school, he sang in a choir, where his musical talents began to develop.

But music took a back seat to Alfred’s work in politics throughout his 20s and 30s, including a large role in the negotiations with the Yukon and federal governments over the Selkirk people’s land claim, which was settled in 1997. It wasn’t until the 1990s — at the request of his father — that Alfred focused more on music. His father’s dying wish was for Alfred to keep the music of their people alive. Alfred did just that in 1994, when he released Etsi Shon: Grandfather Song , his first album with his band the Medicine Beat. The album, recorded in the Northern Tutchone language, subsequently won a Juno in 1996 for best music of Aboriginal Canada recording.

  John Arcand Image credit: Courtesy John Arcand John Arcand is the master of the Métis fiddle, a tradition that goes back nine generations in his family. Arcand has become an integral part of passing on Métis music and culture to future generations. The fiddle has been part of Arcand’s life since he was born, learning traditional Red River Métis tunes from his father and grandfather, who each learned from their own fathers and grandfathers. Arcand has composed close to 400 original songs, and has passed that knowledge onto younger generations, whether as a teacher or through the John Arcand Fiddle Fest, held annually for more than 20 years near Saskatoon. Arcand became a member of the Order of Canada in 2008, and received the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012, among many other honours.

“The fiddle was always good to me,” Arcand told in 2017."I was always able to make a good living doing that so I wanted to share what I knew with the young people to make sure the traditions were kept on."  Read more: .