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Kashtin gained international attention for their unique style of music that incorporates Innu – an Indigenous language with as few as 13,000 speakers – and other elements of their culture. The duo made up of Claude McKenzie and Florent Vollant officially formed as “Kashtin” in 1984, an Innu word meaning "tornado."
Footage caught at an early gig in Northern Quebec where they were playing fesitvals and clubs caught the eyes and ears of Guy Trepanier, the head of Montreal’s Groupe Concept Musique. He invited the two to Studio Concept in Montreal to produce their first album, which quickly went double platinum and gained Kashtin a Juno nomination in 1989.
Capitalizing on their newly-developed worldwide demand, they toured extensively across Canada, South Korea, and Europe – especially France. Their next two albums would go on to earn them two more Juno nominations in 1991 and 1994, with tracks making appearances in various film and television soundtracks. Since then, Claude and Florent have both pursued solo releases. They continue to play together as Kashtin at special concerts; their undeniable legacy is one of revitalizing the Innu language and culture to the world’s center stage.
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Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.