Young Jibwe (former Unkle Fester) is an Ojibwe artist whose beats you hear in the RPM trailer and podcast. We like him. We also sent him an RPM Q&A and got some insightful information back from him. Crystal Gale and Wyclef Jean may never be mentioned in the same article again.
Q: What’s your name?
A: Cameron Jude Monkman, Indian Name: Zoon Ga Deh (Strong Heart)
Q: What’s your Nation, tribe or band and where is it located?
A: Ojibwe from Lake Manitoba First Nation
Q: How does your Indigenous culture inspire your music creation?
A: Having seen what our people have gone through has given me the motivation to stand up and produce healing music for those who’ve been through the pain, and for those who are only learning about it.
Q: Growing up, what were your major musical influcence?
A: Crystal Gale. Her music was very mellow and relaxing and I enjoyed her voice.
Q: What are some of your experiences traveling to Native communities?
A: Well, my grandfather, Glen Monkman Sr. took a principal position in Pukatawagon, Manitoba in the late 90’s and it was my first real experience of the ‘rez life’. I enjoyed it for the most part. It was very different. It opened my eyes to a wider view of Nature and my people’s historic way of life.
Q: What thoughts do you have about the labelling of Aboriginal music in Canada and in the global scene?
A: I would much rather call it ‘Urban Native American” music.
Q: If you could work with any artist past or present, who would they be and why?
A: I would work with Wyclef Jean, Timbaland and Sierra Noble, because all three of them have the motivation to express themselves with music and have the ability to reach out to the crowd and get everyone up on their feet.I’ve been a fan of Wyclef Jean for awhile and I admire his involvement with the changes that impact the world and the great things that he throws out there for people. He’s not your average Corporate artist, he cares about the world he lives in.
As a Music Producer, I would say Timbaland because he’s very talented and patient with making beats as I am, and I learned a few tricks from him through videos and interviews that he has done in the past.
I grew up in Winnipeg and attended Gordon Bell High School with Sierra Noble and I got to know her as a very young talented individual who’s heart speaks with great wisdom and empowerment. She is a proud Métis fiddler and is not afraid to speak about her history.
Q: What else do you do other than music?
A: I attend rallies and speak occasionally at community events that surround Gay Rights (I’m Bisexual). When I came to Toronto, i attended the “No One Is Illegal” protest and made an unscheduled speech about gays being killed in Iran. You can watch it on YouTube: No One is Illegal Rally 2011
Q: Do you have any advice for upcoming artists about touring?
A: Don’t eat McDonald’s – fast food is not good for performing, it actually decreases your energy.
Q: What are your future music plans?
A: I’m planning on moving to Los Angeles sometime next year to work with a few Producers and songwriters. I’m not sure about recording an album at this point, I think I wanna wait until it’s the right time to put a major project together.
Q: What kind of R&R activities do you enjoy?
A: Marijuana, Video Games, Graphic Design, and beat Making.
Q: Any thing else you want to share with the world of Indigenous Music Culture?
A: When people are inspired by Hip-Hop, it motivates them to make changes, whether being in their own life or the Community around them