It’s been four years since blues duo Digging Roots released their last album but with one listen you’ll agree it’s been worth the wait.

Inspired by their travels, For The Light, firmly inhabits roots and blues with a nomadic wanderlust; confidently exploring other terrains from the inner cities, the back roads and all the places in between. The husband and wife songwriting team, Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish have written and produced a collection of love songs that reflects a maturing sense of storytelling. With sweet harmonies smokey wails and melodic accompaniments of ukulele, banjo, mellotron and of course Raven’s bombastic resonator guitar, this albumis something special; an eclectic tapestry of light and dark sound that is vintage and fresh all at once.

Digging Roots are formidable live – be sure to catch them on the road this summer. Get the album on iTunes and start singing along (in Anishinabemowin and English) to the brilliant title track, For the Light.

Digging Roots’ Summer Tour Dates 2014:

06/26/14 Toronto, ON
Dundas Square

06/27/14 Midland, ON
Midland Cultural Centre

06/29/14 Quebec City, QC
Television Performance

07/01/14 Barrie, ON
Heritage Park

07/11/14 – 07/13/14 Comox, BC
Vancouver Island MusicFest

07/15/14 Duncan, BC
Duncan Showroom Productions

07/17/14 – 07/20/14 Yellowknife, NWT
Folk On The Rocks

07/23/14 Regina, SK
2014 Indigenous Games

08/01/14 Spence’s Bridge, BC
N’kemin Voices of the Valley

08/06/14 Kelowna, BC
Minstrel Café

08/06/14 – 08/07/14 Wayland, MI
Pottawatami Gathering

08/15/14 – 08/17/14 Dunster, BC
Robson Valley Music Festival

Native America North Takes New York

Three of our favourite Indigenous artists will be traveling from their Canadian homes to New York this weekend to perform a showcase at APAP 2013.

The Big Apple will have the pleasure of hearing Don Amero, Digging Roots and Elisapie at a showcase, Native America North, during the APAP 2013 conference. Between the three acts you’ll get roots, folk, and pop interpretations of Anishinabe, Mohawk, Inuit, and Métis culture.

If you’re in the city Saturday January 12, head to the National Museam of the American Indian from 2-5pm to take it all in – the event is free to the public!

For more info visit aboriginalmusic.ca and get started with the latest video from Don Amero, Turn These Grey Skies Blue:

Artist Call: Manifesto and ORIGINS Calling All Native MCs

ORIGINS: Breaking Beats & Boundaries is calling Native MCs to compete for a chance at a paid performance spot at the Manifesto Festival 2012.

Compete on June 30th in front of a panel of industry judges in Toronto, Ontario, for your chance to win the grand prize of paid performance spot at Manifesto 2012!

Submissions can be made online at: themanifesto.ca/submissions/origins.

And then stick around, as the event is being followed by performances from Kinnie Starr, Iskwé and A Tribe Called Red, hosted by Wab Kinew. Get the details on that on Facebook.

Good luck!

Video: Lisa Jackson’s “Savage” By: Eugene Boulanger 

This five minute short film Savage, from award winning Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson is a unique exploration of the first day of school for a young First Nations child set in the 1950′s.
The film, featuring Ta’kaiya Blaney, Skeena Reece, Doug Blamey, and Jennifer Jackson, won a 2010 Genie award for Best Short Film, a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Multicultural Film, the ReelWorld Outstanding Canadian Short Film, and the Leo Awards for Best Actress and Best Editing.  Fond memories of high school musicals resurfaced during the film for this writer – in Grade 12, Eugene taught himself how to dance the lead from Michael Jackson’s Thriller during his lunch hours in the black box, to then teach his classmates the dance which went on to open their end of term shows.
From Lisa Jackson’s website:

On a summer day in the 1950s, a native girl watches the countryside go by from the backseat of a car. A woman at her kitchen table sings a lullaby in her Cree language. When the girl arrives at her destination, she undergoes a transformation that will turn the woman’s gentle voice into a howl of anger and pain.
In a place like this, there aren’t many chances to be a kid. But, when no one’s watching…
A residential school musical.

Light-hearted as the video is at times, it commands the use of humor, thoughtfulness, dance and music to make a statement on the reality of a First Nations legacy which we all live with today. This stunning video is polished and beautiful, and leaves room for the viewer to reflect on the lived reality of First Nations children taken to boarding schools, while remaining accessible for people from any community.
Watch Lisa Jackson’s ‘Savage’ at RPM.fm by clicking this link.
  • Camera: Canon EOS 5D Mark II
  • Aperture: f/2.8
  • Exposure: 1/500th
  • Focal Length: 70mm

Video: Lisa Jackson’s “Savage” By:  

This five minute short film Savage, from award winning Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson is a unique exploration of the first day of school for a young First Nations child set in the 1950′s.

The film, featuring Ta’kaiya Blaney, Skeena Reece, Doug Blamey, and Jennifer Jackson, won a 2010 Genie award for Best Short Film, a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Multicultural Film, the ReelWorld Outstanding Canadian Short Film, and the Leo Awards for Best Actress and Best Editing.  Fond memories of high school musicals resurfaced during the film for this writer – in Grade 12, Eugene taught himself how to dance the lead from Michael Jackson’s Thriller during his lunch hours in the black box, to then teach his classmates the dance which went on to open their end of term shows.

From Lisa Jackson’s website:

On a summer day in the 1950s, a native girl watches the countryside go by from the backseat of a car. A woman at her kitchen table sings a lullaby in her Cree language. When the girl arrives at her destination, she undergoes a transformation that will turn the woman’s gentle voice into a howl of anger and pain.

In a place like this, there aren’t many chances to be a kid. But, when no one’s watching…

A residential school musical.

Light-hearted as the video is at times, it commands the use of humor, thoughtfulness, dance and music to make a statement on the reality of a First Nations legacy which we all live with today. This stunning video is polished and beautiful, and leaves room for the viewer to reflect on the lived reality of First Nations children taken to boarding schools, while remaining accessible for people from any community.

Watch Lisa Jackson’s ‘Savage’ at RPM.fm by clicking this link.


Lorenzo Answers Some “Questions”

Lorenzo has a new intimate and unplugged video out for his song Questions and we got a chance to get him to answer some of our own questions about it.

We found this new video here at RPM by Leonard Sumner aka Lorenzo for his song called Questions which was released recently on Vimeo. Shot by Jordan Molaro in a hotel room unplugged and in one take, I had to ask Lorenzo one question myself before posting this video – “what do you want the people to know about it?”

Here’s what Lorenzo had to say:

“I just hope people enjoy it. It came to me after the spring equinox and we had a feast at work. I was listening to a traditional person speaking, and I heard them say ‘will there be any questions for you from the creator?’ in their speech. It may not have been in that exact phrasing. But something along those lines.

It set off a chain reaction in my mind..

‘Will there be questions for me, like I’ve had questions for you.’

To me it meant when our time is done here, will the Creator ask me questions as to why I made different choices in life. Or why I hadn’t embraced or used my gifts and talents completely. I’m sure we’ve asked why we’ve faced different obstacles in our lives or felt like we weren’t chasing our dreams hard enough.

So after about a week of digesting that phrase, on the night before the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Youth Secretariat’s ‘Regional Youth Gathering’ (I work for AMC’s Youth Secretariat) held in Fisher River Cree Nation, I couldn’t sleep. My guitar was calling me, but not my usual guitar. It was a new Fender Acoustic I Picked up from that Future Shop on the Rez in Vancouver. I had stored it in my closet, but something was drawing me to it. Almost like it wanted to write the song. I picked it up and started strumming, and almost immediately there was a chord progression I had never used…

To read the rest of the interview and to watch Lorenzo’s new video, entitled Questions, click this link.

In episode 12, RPM looks at language revitalization. Half of the world’s languages have dissapeared in the past 500 years and today a language goes extinct every two weeks on average. Indigenous languages are the ones most at risk - which has inspired Indigenous musicians to take up the struggle to save them.

Our host Ostwelve speaks with three artists who are working on revitilizing their ancestral languages. Miss Christie Lee of the Musqueam Nation raps in Hun’qumi’num’ and shares what her culture means to her and how she sought guidance from her elders on creating music in her language. Tall Paul, of Point of Contact, raps in Anishnaabemowin.  Tall Paul describes discovering more of his culture through his college language course and using hip-hop to adapt Indigenous languages to new avenues. Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, who sings in the language of Haida, hopes listeners can get to a different place, even if they don’t understand the words, and she shares how by singing in our Indigenous lanugage we are connecting with our ancestors.

DOWNLOAD: RPM Podcast #012 - “Revitalization” 

RPM Podcast #012 - “Revitalization” by RPMfm

Subscribe via your favorite RSS reader

For more on language revitalization, see:

The RPM podcast is produced & engineered by the amazing Paolo Pietropaolo. Photo illustration created by the talented Joi Arcand.

Chase Manhattan is a hip-hop/rap artist based in Twin Cities, Minnesota, who music reflects his urban and Indigenous (Pine Ridge Oglala, Leech Lake Anishinaabe, and Muscogee Creek) roots.

We first heard about him at RPM from our friend Ryan McMahon and Chase has since become one of our favourite artists.

STREAM: Chase Manhattan - “Put ‘em Up” Put em Up Chase Manhattan Nates Beats Alienated 2011 by 59chase