DOWNLOAD: Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1

Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1 is the first of an ongoing series of free downloadable compilations of songs by artists who support the vision of Idle No More, Indigenous and allies. Volume 1 features a broad and diverse array of artists – everyone from Derek Miller (whose contribution, 7 Lifetimes, is a brand new track inspired by Chief Theresa Spence), to John K. Samson of the Weakerthans.

Bluesey-roots from Digging Roots. The indie stylings of Whitehorse. A funky hip hop jam from Plex with Wab Kinew and Sarah Podemski. It’s a feast for the ears. A celebration. And we’re only just getting started. If ever we’ve been idle – whether in our thoughts or our actions – we are now Idle No More.

This exciting collection – and the additional volumes that will follow soon (there’s that many artists and voices!) – was conceived by Marty Ballentyne, Holly McNarland, Kevin Joseph and RPM’s Ron “Ostwelve” Harris.

Listen to and download the tracks now, and read on below.

Idle No More: Songs for Live Volume 1

From co-creator of Idle No More: Songs for Live Vol. 1 Marty Ballentyne

Music is transcendent. Somewhere in between the melody, the rhythm, the words, the instruments and the people playing them, it all adds up to something more than the sum of its parts. It’s magic! Music soothes frayed nerves. It makes you dance. It says things you just can’t put into words. Songs make you think, make you feel, bring you up, bring you down, bring you around. For some music is loud and groovy on a Friday night; for some, it’s quiet and calming on a Sunday morning. Music brings us all together. We have it in common, along with the air, the water, the earth beneath our feet, and the sky above.

Idle No More began in November as a grassroots effort by four women to educate people about Bill C 45, tabled by the federal government.  The news media and commentators such as Rick Mercer had given the bill cursory attention when the bill was introduced in Parliament in mid October. Hidden inside the 440 page bill are changes that will affect all Canadians, now and in the future. Most Canadian waterways, protected since the days of John A. Macdonald, are protected no longer. Amendments have been made to The Indian Act without consulting First Nations. A series of teach ins by Sylvia McAdam, Nina Wilson, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean first brought awareness, then concern, then action. People started talking. Social media networks were lit up by the sharing of information. And virtually overnight, the national conversation shifted considerably. Little over a month after the first rallies and flash mob round dances took place across Canada, Idle No More has become an international movement.

At the heart of Idle No More is a desire to foster dialogue. People are talking, and about many things – not only Bill C 45, but also the relationship between Canada and its First Peoples, protection of the environment, the economy, and the Third World conditions of some of our communities. People are also talking about how they can contribute. It was in this spirit of pitching in that musicians Holly McNarland, Kevin Joseph, Ron Harris (Ostwelve), and Marty Ballentyne came together to work on gathering tracks from artists in support of Idle No More, to be released as a series of free downloadable collections of songs. This is the first.

Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1 is the first of an ongoing series of free downloadable compilations of songs by artists who support the vision of Idle No More. Over the past few weeks we’ve been contacting people from across Canada and around the world, and the response has been fantastic. It’s a feast for the ears. A celebration. And we’re only just getting started. If ever we’ve been idle – whether in our thoughts or our actions – we are now Idle No More.

Words of support from artists on Volume 1:

Jenn Grant:
“Perhaps music can help spread awareness and support our precious earth, and to our leaders who are fighting this cause. Let us grow together and show our cause and concern. Canadians need to shout and sing and sometimes starve – let us be heard. ”

Holly McNarland:
My focus is to speak to music fans and to hopefully sway some of the opinions and myths about First Nations people, and shine some light on how the Harper Government is selling us out via our water, land and resources. Bill C-45 needs to go.

We believe that conditions in many First Nations’ communities are deplorable and would not be tolerated in neighbourhoods in Toronto or Calgary (for example) and as such there is a deep double standard at play in Canada. We support Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and urge Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with her. Also, the shredding of environmental regulations and the defunding of environmental and science organizations at the very time when there is a push by Harper to build a pipeline through environmentally vulnerable lands and waters is cause for great concern to all Canadians.

Leave a Reply to Lydia Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Jon Pawson

    Is there a link to download the album in its entirety or do we have to download each song individually? Thanks!

    • Hey Jon,
      You will have to download the tracks separately. Sorry for the inconvenience. But those are the protocols for Soundcloud at this point. We may have a swift download link coming up.
      Thanks for your question and interest.
      Ron @RPMfm

  2. Dean Hajas

    Sago all……

    In the words of my good friend Chief John Maracle……Treaty sho ye wa nani!

    Treaty up in Smoke……

    It’s more than high time for the movement of all brothers and sisters who are joined in heart and song, to use their voices and let the cry of their hearts be heard by all.


  3. Great tracks and many thanks to the artists! We have a Canadian YouTube Channel and are wondering if these tracks can be used with videos we are shooting of the Idle No More events here in the Okanagan. Of course, we would need to include credit to the artists, linking to their sites or YouTube pages if they have one and to here. Is this possible? Thanks

  4. right on thanks to all. I have one i would also like to add.

  5. Hi,

    Perhaps my music can be helpful and added to the cause.

    See my website http://www.liesandbrokenpromises.ca with the song if same title. The song is about Harper and world dictators and was trying to stop him in the last election. Many thousands of hits.

    My first album is near completion under my evolving website under LPGroove

    Let me know.

    Going into studio now.
    Best Larry Pegg

  6. I will be playing this in my antique shop here in East Gwillimbury Ontario all day, every day! Miigwetch!

  7. I will be playing this in my little antique shop here in East Gwillimbury alllll day every day! Miigwetch!!!!!

  8. Susan

    This is very moving! Congratulations on a fine effort and on keeping the snowball rolling!

  9. Starfire Shadowfalcon

    I love this so much. Can’t wait for more!

  10. Lydia

    Thank you!!

  11. chip

    where’s the beef?..err…links?

    • Christa Couture

      Hi Chip – in the top right of the audio player under “Like” and “Share” is “Download”.

      Right now the tracks can only be downloaded individually, so click on a title then click download for any or all of the tracks you want!

      There’s no one link for the whole set as one.

      cc | RPM

  12. I’d like to contact the organizers of this first compilation. Thanks.

  13. Alice Parada

    WOW!! I absolutely LOVE this compilation of songs and the spirit in which it was created!

  14. Jon Pawson

    Inez – Singsoulgirl is easily the best track on this compilation! So smooth, so soulful, the beat is is so dope! Jammed this song on repeat for like an hour at work last night hahaha

    Arohanui from Aotearoa!

  15. Teresa

    Are there any plans to come out with caps and t-shirts for the Idle No More movement. I want to show my support. I was born and raised in Hochelaga or as it is now called Montreal but, I have always favored the aboriginal culture over my own. The general respect for everything be it animal, plant or human. Anyways, I would love to be able to wear a cap to show my support. I have changed my facebook banner picture to show my support.

  16. mooniacful

    such a generous offering of all these great tunes. migwetch love plex!!!! you deliver a really clear message reminds me of damian marley vibe

  17. Clement Durocher

    I could see the Ugly Sisters finger prints on this page, AWSOME work and keep it going. Thanks.

  18. Alida

    I listened to the podcast “The Current” and learned of RPM FM. Great way to get some good music out there. I then started downloading some songs from Volume 1, which I love, and I’ve been trying to play “Big Chief” through iTunes but, to no avail. Any ideas as to why? I can play that one particular song through other media players on my computer but, not through iTunes. Odd?

  19. Jay

    Hi, I can’t get track #11 (Lee Harvey) to download. Anybody else have problems downloading this track?

    • Seany Tea

      Hi, I manged to download that lee harvey track 11 no problem. Though I could not download track 14 by tribe called red?

  20. PLEASE – Can you add a Google + share button. PLEASE- Can you add other options for obtaining music besides Facebook, for those of us who do not use Facebook, or support them for artist copyright reasons. Thanks. Aho.

  21. Seany Tea

    Hi, I can’t seem to be able to download the last track 14 by a tribe called red – the road. There does not seem to be a download option, can you still download it?

  22. yann

    hey, is there any information about the licenses of the tracks?
    greetings from berlin germany,
    keep da fire burning!

  23. Pingback: Idle No More, Songs for Life Vol. 1 Available for Download | Diaspora Hypertext, the Blog