A Tribe Called Red/Photo courtesy of the artist
Starting October 30 and running through November 4, Aboriginal Music Week will go off in Winnipeg, Canada, showcasing all the best in Native American, Inuit, Métis and indigenous music from around the world. That means traditional music like powwow drumming and throat singing, but it also means hip-hop in ancient languages, experimental cello sounds and thundering global bass. The only unifying factor in the music is that it’s all made by people who were in a place before the other people showed up.
In honor of the festival’s fourth year, here’s ten creative natives from around the world. Some of them will be in Winnipeg this coming week. Some of them we just like a lot.
10. Chris Derksen
Canadian cellist Chris Derksen will be in Winnipeg to share her genre bending music, which blends classical influences with inspiration from her Cree ancestry. How cool is this video?
9. DJ Subversivo
This Chilean producer identifies as mestizo with indigenous Mapuche roots. DJ Subversivo told MTV Iggy his psychedelic global bass tracks are inspired by “the need to reconnect the modern man with the vibrations of the earth.” See if this jam does that for you.
SlinCraze is the foremost rapper among the Sami, the indigenous people of Norway and the surrounding region, and he rhymes in traditional Sami languages. Though many have developed a passion for hip-hop and recreational snowmobiling, most young Sami people live much as their ancestors did, herding reindeer and rocking traditional tunics.
Hip-hop has given a voice and a common language to people from countless cultures and walks of life. But if the traditional music you grew up with is something arguably sick as hell, like powwow drumming, you may as well be like Ojibway group Eyabey and just stick with that.
Los Angeles hip-hop/electro duo LightningCloud are playing AMW this year. Listen to members Crystle Lightning and MC RedCloud elaborate on their tribal party steez.
5. Nive Nielsen
Nive Nielsen is a Greenlandic Inuk singer-songwriter known for her whimsy and her little red ukulele. Her band is called the Deer Children. She is, empirically speaking, the cutest thing ever.
4. Tanya Tagaq
One of the headliners at the festival, Tanya Tagaq is an avant garde/traditional Inuk throat singer. She out-Björks Björk with her superhuman vocalizations and did so on the Icelandic superstar’s album Medúlla. And she gets down with Kronos Quartet. #Swag
3. Samantha Crain
Easier on the ears than Tanya Tagaq, but also a draw at this year’s fest, Samantha Crain’s tender country folk and fragile voice will soften the steeliest heart. She hails from Oklahoma and is of Choctaw heritage.
2. Yung Warriors
Getting back to hip-hop, aboriginal Australian rappers Yung Warriors represent their people with fierce pride and open for guys like 50 Cent and The Game.
1. A Tribe Called Red
Composed of Cuyuga and Ojibway members, A Tribe Called Red (see photo up top) caused a stir in the global bass world with their crazy powwowstep tracks, subversive visuals and inventive DJ sets blending hip-hop, dancehall and tribal elements. The Canadian collective’s Electric Powwow parties are the toast of Ottawa. Catch them at Aboriginal Music Week too.