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National Music Centre Names PIQSIQ and the Blackstone Singers as Recipients of 2023 OHSOTO’KINO Recording Bursary, New Call Opens for Indigenous Music Incubator



(Calgary, AB — March 28, 2023) Today, the National Music Centre (NMC) is announcing the 2023 recipients of the OHSOTO’KINO Recording Bursary: Inuit-style throat singing duo PIQSIQ, and acclaimed nehiyaw (Plains Cree) powwow and round dance group Blackstone Singers. A new call for submissions is now open for the OHSOTO’KINO Music Incubator, which is geared towards Indigenous artists from Canada, and will run at Studio Bell in Calgary, Alberta from September 11-15, 2023.

The OHSOTO’KINO Music Incubator program is open to First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists. Interested applicants can apply at by April 28, 2023 at 11:59 pm MT.

With roots in Nunavut's Kitikmeot and Kivalliq Regions, PIQSIQ’s Inuksuk Mackay and Tiffany Ayalik grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. Inspired by the haunting northern beauty, the sisters blend their ancient traditional form with contemporary technology to create haunting soundscapes and improvisational compositions that change with every show. 

Hailing from Treaty 6 territory, the Blackstone Singers’ roots are in Sweetgrass First Nation, Saskatchewan. Since its inception in 1987, Blackstone has travelled extensively throughout Turtle Island, winning numerous awards and world singing titles and championships over the years, while forging lifelong friendships and connections to communities along the way.

Supported by TD Bank Group, the OHSOTO’KINO Indigenous programming initiative launched in 2022 and focuses on three elements: creation of new music in NMC’s recording studios, artist development through a music incubator program, and storytelling through NMC exhibitions via the annually updated Speak Up! gallery and through content on NMC’s Amplify platform. OHSOTO’KINO is a Blackfoot phrase, which means ‘to recognize a voice of.’ This title acknowledges both the Blackfoot people and the territory on which National Music Centre resides.

The OHSOTO’KINO Recording Bursary provides access to NMC’s world-class recording studios and “living collection” of musical instruments to produce a commercial release, while the OHSOTO’KINO Music Incubator brings Indigenous artists together for career guidance, mentorship, and performance opportunities.

“We’re grateful for the ongoing support of TD to fund OHSOTO’KINO, we’ve seen the artists thrive and grow who’ve participated in the initiative so far,” said David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation in Treaty 1), NMC Board Member and Chair of NMC's National Indigenous Programming Advisory Committee. “A JUNO Award nomination for OHSOTO’KINO Recording Bursary participant Joel Wood resulted in the first year of the program. That’s really the dream for OHSOTO’KINO; to provide the space, tools, and support to Indigenous artists so they can elevate their careers in their chosen direction. We’re excited to see where PIQSIQ, Blackstone Singers, and the next group of incubator participants take their music.”

“Through the OHSOTO’KINO Music Incubator, I was able to learn from other musicians in the industry who hold their culture and stories close to them, which I really appreciate,” said Zoey Roy, a participant of 2022’s OHSOTO’KINO Indigenous Music Incubator. “But not only that, being in NMC’s building was so inspiring, and people were so welcoming. Seeing the Speak Up! exhibition with so many Indigenous heroes on display is where I saw that we are possible, and that we don’t have to work so hard to be here, because we are already here.”

Artists for the OHSOTO’KINO Music Incubator will be announced in the coming months. Participants will be selected by NMC’s Indigenous Programming Advisory Committee, who act as a guiding voice for exhibitions and programs at Studio Bell.

In time for National Indigenous History Month in June, a new group of Indigenous trailblazers will also be added to the Speak Up! exhibition, joining 20 previously announced artists including Susan Aglukark, Kashtin, Willie Dunn, and more. Stay tuned for that announcement in the coming months.

About National Music Centre | Centre National de Musique
The National Music Centre (NMC) has a mission to amplify the love, sharing, and understanding of music. It is preserving and celebrating Canada’s music story inside its home at Studio Bell in the heart of the East Village in Mohkinstsis (Calgary) on Treaty 7 territory. NMC is the home to four Canadian music halls of fame, including the Canadian Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame, the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame, and Quebec’s ADISQ Hall of Fame. Featuring musical instruments, artifacts, recording equipment, and memorabilia, the NMC Collection spans over 450 years of music history and innovation. A registered charity with programs that include exhibitions, artist development, performance, and education, NMC is inspiring a new generation of music lovers. For more information about NMC’s onsite activities, please visit To check out the NMC experience online, including video-on-demand performances, made-in-Canada stories, and highly entertaining educational content, visit


Media Contact:
Julijana Capone, Senior Publicist
National Music Centre
T. 403.543.5123 
| @nmc_canada