Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre (NMC), will be open with free admission on September 30 for National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.
NMC will present a discussion on the power of music for reconciliation, hosted by David McLeod, curator of the National Music Centre's Speak Up! exhibition that recognizes trailblazing Indigenous musicians.
The panelists are Cree artist Fawn Wood, recipient of the first JUNO Award for Traditional Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year in 2022; néhiyaw rapper, educator and activist Eekwol, who uses her voice to amplify community realities of past and present; and Calgary-based Métis artist Shane Ghostkeeper, founder of Ghostkeeper, a band that has been responsible for some of the most thrilling music to emerge from Alberta during the last 15 years. In addition to the panel, each artist will also perform a song.
While you're at Studio Bell, check out the recently updated Speak Up! exhibition to further explore Indigenous culture and experiences through the lens of music. The exhibition recognizes powerful Indigenous voices in music, including recently added artists Tom Jackson, Elisapie, Ferron, Fawn Wood, and Drezus. Featuring storytelling, audio, and artifacts, visitors to Speak Up! can learn how Indigenous artists are fostering dialogue and understanding to radically shift the Canadian paradigm of who First Nations, Métis, and Inuit people are.
About Fawn Wood:
Fawn Wood’s deep connection to her family, Cree culture, and community is rooted within traditional music. She grew up immersed in the cultural and musical traditions of her parents: her father, Earl Wood, is from Saddle Lake Cree Nation and performed with Northern Cree; her mother, Cindy Jim-Wood, taught her the traditions and Salish chants of the Whonnock and Stl’atl’imx peoples. Proudly continuing this legacy, in 2006 Wood was honored to be the first female to win the Hand Drum contest at the Gathering of Nations Pow-Wow. Several years later she performed in the televised 11th Annual Native American Music Awards (NAMMYS), and in 2010, along with her husband, Cree singer Dallas Waskahat, she opened the broadcast of the Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Music Awards in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Wood released her debut solo album Iskwewak – Songs of Indigenous Womanhood in 2012, garnering her the Best Female Artist award at the 2013 NAMMYS. Her music has also earned her Best Hand Drum Recording at the 2013 Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Music Awards and top spot on the iTunes New Release World Music Chart, remaining in the top 100 for weeks afterward. Wood’s latest album, Kâkike, received the first JUNO Award in the new category Traditional Indigenous Artist or Group of the Year (2022). With over a million engagements on TikTok, Wood has become a social media influencer who utilizes traditional music to revitalize languages and culture.
Eekwol (born Lindsay Knight) is a rapper/educator/activist and community motivator from the Muskoday First Nation in Saskatchewan. Her passion for hip-hop, born from the genre’s attention to political, socioeconomic, and racial inequality began at the age of 16 soon flowered into her first independent album in 1998.
An academic as well as a musician, she dedicated her master’s studies at the University of Saskatchewan to an examination of the common themes and conventions that connect to the past and present generations of Indigenous music.
Eekwol’s political activism has truly been the focus of her life and music, utilizing her platform to voice the deep trauma created by actions such as Canada’s residential school system and the findings within the inquiry into Missing and Murdered Indigenous Woman and Girls. Her music continues to be a powerful statement that relies on creative innovation to represent community realities of the past and present.
About Shane Ghostkeeper:
Fans of independent Canadian music will likely recognize the name Shane Ghostkeeper from his namesake project GHOSTKEEPER, a band that has been responsible for some of the more thrilling music to emerge from Alberta during the last 15 years. But while his parent band trades in a highly unique, left-of-centre approach to indie rock, this new project is a deeply reverential tribute to the music he absorbed while growing up in the Northern Alberta Métis communities of Paddle Prairie, High Level, and Rocky Lane. “The concept of this record,” Ghostkeeper says, “is to present, as a gift to my people, an exploration of the country & western and roots records they surrounded me with since childhood.” Songs For My People is a truly a family affair.
National Music Centre's Speak Up! exhibition and OHSOTO'KINO Indigenous programming initiative are supported by TD. OHSOTO’KINO focuses on three elements: creation of new music in NMC’s recording studios, artist development through a music incubator program, and exhibitions via the annually updated Speak Up! gallery. To learn more about OHSOTO'KINO, click here.