Now more than ever, diversity is the key word in Indigenous music. From fiddle, to beats, to bluesy guitar, Aboriginal Music Week, November 1-5, 2011, will showcase the best of First Nations, Native American, Inuit and Métis music.
In their recent press release, Dancing Beyond Stereotypes: Aboriginal Music Week Bursts with Artists’ Bold New Energy, November 2011 in Winnipeg, Manitoba, it was announced that A Tribe Called Red (electro-powwow), Leela Gilday (folk), Derek Miller (roots rock), John Arcand (fiddle) and Winnipeg’s Most (hip-hop) will headline the festival.
“It’s an exciting time to be Aboriginal in Canada right now,” enthuses Bear Witness of the DJ collective A Tribe Called Red. “The community across Canada is coming together more and more, especially around the arts and music. There’s so much going on, so many interesting things, so many strong artists.”
The burst of new creative energy comes after several generations of cultural loss and stigma. “Until quite recently, there were no positive references in media or on stage to Native people, especially in urban centers like Winnipeg,” reflects Greyeyes. “The only time we were in the spotlight was for crimes. But now, kids are seeing Native people are great artists who perform and get played on the radio. They get to see themselves reflected on stage.”
Connecting Aboriginal artists—from different scenes, at different points in their career—is part of the broader mission of festival producer Aboriginal Music Manitoba (www.ammb.ca). “We want to create a stronger professional infrastructure for Aboriginal performers,” says Greyeyes. The festival, along with night after night of high-calibre concerts, provides opportunities for artists to network with local community music bookers, and to create moments of contact with new, mostly young audiences.
This year’s festival will take place in Winnipeg, November 1-5, 2011. The complete festival line-up is yet to be announced – stay tuned to RPM.