Music is a mode of communication and education about lifestyles and cultures. Artists write lyrics about their identity and create beats that are a continuation of centuries-long traditions and customs. A group of people known for having such a rich cultural identity around music and dance are the indigenous people of North America. This month, I will recommend 4 albums created by indigenous people in North America. As you’ll be able to tell, these recommendations do a great job blending the modern lyricism/beats with the storytelling of their cultural upbringing. For each album recommendation, I have provided a YouTube link to a song from that particular album. Feel free to give each song a listen! If you have any comments, recommendations, or musical suggestions, don’t hesitate to email me at [email protected], or leave a comment on the Instagram or Twitter post. Enjoy!

ARTIST: Shawnee Kish

ALBUM TITLE: Shawnee Kish-EP (2021)

Canadian Indigenous and two-spirited singer/songwriter Shawnee Kish captures listeners’ attention with her soulful voice and pop beats.  She uses her music as a source of self-empowerment, and to increase awareness about her identity as a Two-Spirited Singer. Shawnee’s heritage comes from the Six Nations of the Grand River.

SONG TO CHECK OUT: Got it Bad

SIMILAR ARTISTS: Nimkish, Anyma, Celeigh Cardinal

ARTIST: Snotty Nose Rez Kids  

ALBUM TITLE: TRAPLINE (2019)

Snotty Nose Rez Kids consists of rappers Darren “Young D” Metz and Quinton “Yung Trybez” Nyce. Both are First Nations and have been in the music business for about 5 years, where they met in High School. Snotty Nose Rez Kids write songs that elaborate on life experiences, customs, and problems faced in Indigenous culture.  

SONG TO CHECK OUT: Son of a Matriarch 

SIMILAR ARTISTS: Drezus, JB the First Lady, Cadence Weapon

ARTIST: DJ Shub

ALBUM TITLE:  PowWowStep (2016)

Gaining notoriety from the TV show “Who is America?” feat. Sasha Baron Cohen, Mohawk DJ Shub has been an award-winning music producer hailing from Six Notions of the Grand River. He makes sure to feature Indigenous artists in his songs. As DJ Shub puts it, he has learned more about the Indigenous culture through his music and it is reflected in the music he produces.  

SONG TO CHECK OUT: Indomitable (feat. Northern Cree Singers) 

SIMILAR ARTISTS: Fawn Wood, Supaman, Northern Cree

ARTIST: Jayli Wolf

ALBUM TITLE: Wild Whisper (2021)

Jayli has lived a traumatic life of being raised in a doomsday cult, where she lost everything and everyone. This album is the album where Jayli begins to heal and reclaim her indigenous history. Her music is folk mixed with pop. Along with being a singer, Jayli has also been featured in TV shows, including an episode of “Handmaid’s Tale.”

SONG TO CHECK OUT: Child of the Government

SIMILAR ARTISTS: Once a Tree, iskwe, Sebastian Gaskin

COMMUNITY RECOMMENDATIONS

To be featured in this section next month, send your music recommendation to [email protected] or leave a comment on social media!

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