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Buffy Sainte-Marie and ‘Master of the Métis Fiddle’ John Arcand Added to National Music Centre’s Speak Up! Exhibition



(Calgary, AB — June 15, 2021) The National Music Centre (NMC) is adding two Indigenous icons to its Speak Up! exhibition in time for National Indigenous Peoples Day on June 21.

The exhibit, which honours Indigenous artists making social and political impacts in Canada, will now include singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie and fiddler, composer, and luthier John Arcand, also referred to as the ‘Master of the Métis Fiddle,’ along with 13 previously announced artists.

Brought online during Studio Bell’s first closure in 2020, the exhibit will launch virtually on June 21 and open onsite on July 1 alongside Studio Bell’s reopening and five-year anniversary. The onsite exhibition features storytelling, audio, and artifacts. Visitors will gain an understanding of each artists’ personal inspiration and drive for social change, as well as their feelings on the medium of music as a tool for speaking up.

“The incredible life works of two more incredible artists are now being honoured by the National Music Centre,” said David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation), Curator of Speak Up! “Buffy Sainte-Marie has dedicated her life towards building social change and awareness of Indigenous realities and history, and she is nowhere near done in completing her goals. As a respected Elder, each day John Arcand continues to build his legacy towards preserving the stories, rhythms, and joys of Métis fiddle music. He’s dedicated his life to carrying his family tradition forward, not only for himself but for generations of others. I hope visitors to Studio Bell are inspired by the impacts of these trailblazers.”

“For me, music is a passion and it’s also always been about the preservation of the traditional tunes that I learned from my grandfather and my father,” said John Arcand. “My grandfather, Jean Baptiste, played the fiddle from 1889 to 1948—59 years. My father, Victor Arcand, played the fiddle from 1920 to 1975—55 years. I have played the fiddle since 1950—that’s 71 years and counting. Music is an important part of our culture. I started the John Arcand Fiddle Fest to expose more people to it, in the hopes that the younger generations will carry all the traditions forward, allowing many others to also make lists that include a long line of family members that are keeping the music alive.”

As previously announced, the Speak Up! exhibit was updated in 2020 to include Igloolik psych-rockers Northern Haze; the father of Inuktitut music, country-folk artist Charlie Panigoniak; and singer-songwriter Kinnie Starr, known for her blend of conscious hip hop and groove-driven pop.

Other artists that are included in the evolving exhibit include: singer-songwriter and First Nations activist Willie Dunn, operatic vocalist and composer Jeremy Dutcher, trip-hop singer-songwriter iskwē, eight-time Grammy-nominees Northern Cree, legendary filmmaker and genre-defying musician Alanis Obomsawin, Aboriginal poet, painter, broadcaster and filmmaker Dr. Duke Redbird, Anishinaabe singer-songwriter and emcee Leonard Sumner, Ottawa-based rock band Seventh Fire, Inuit throat singer and experimental artist Tanya Tagaq, and groundbreaking Cree hip-hop group War Party.

“The Speak Up exhibition is one of many ways that the National Music Centre is amplifying and empowering Indigenous voices,” said Andrew Mosker, President and CEO, NMC. “The path towards reconciliation starts by hearing and acknowledging the truths and experiences of Indigenous people, and we remain committed to sharing these stories.”

The launch of the online version of Speak Up! will coincide with National Indigenous People Day on June 21, a day that celebrates the heritage, diverse cultures, and outstanding achievements of First Nations, Inuit and Métis people. The exhibit is free online and accessible at The physical exhibit will open onsite on July 1 alongside Studio Bell’s reopening and five-year anniversary. Book your timed-entry tickets at

About Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre
Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), is much more than a museum. A registered charity and national catalyst for discovery, innovation and renewal through music, NMC is preserving and celebrating Canada’s music story inside its home at Studio Bell in Calgary’s East Village. With programming that includes on-site and outreach education programs, performances, artist incubation and exhibitions, NMC is inspiring a new generation of music lovers. For more information, please visit Or to check out exclusive content for free, visit


Media contact:
Julijana Capone, Senior Publicist
National Music Centre | @nmc_canada