On Cris Derksen‘s sophomore album “The Collapse,” the classically-trained Métis artist continues to experiment in instrumental and electronic realms, drawing inspiration from eider ducks to pipelines, from club beats to Russian composers.

On her debut album “The Cusp” Derksen drew attention from around the globe for taking the traditionally classical instrument, the cello, onto the dance floor thanks to a loop station and a row of effects pedals. While she’s adept at playing with beats, she also builds slow, winding, melodic soundscapes, and any live audience I’ve seen her perform for has never been short of inspired. She’s collaborated with artists like Kinnie Starr and A Tribe Called Red, is often commissioned to compose for film and television, and tours across Canada and internationally.

Yup, she’s fantastic.

CBC Music described “The Collapse” as “an evocative and highly atmospheric album” (read their full Q&A with Derksen here) and recently Janet Rogers wrote for BC Musician Magazine:

The Collapse, continues to be an exploration and experimentation in the limits and limitless capacity of the voice and the instrument. On her track “In Line” Cris’ vocalization accompanies one of the more melodic compositions in the collection with crash cymbals breaking in bringing to mind a circus soundtrack while watching a high-wire act. In Dark Dance, she brings us back to the original sound that put her on the map while playing the urban club scene where her fan base was built. This is a bassy musical detail flowing over a rapid trickle of notes sending your thoughts skyward, but since this is a dark dance, we surpass the sky and enter unknown galaxies. Yes, it’s trippy, and yes, I like it.


In the meantime, Cris is making magic from thin air and offering a fresh recipe from the same old kitchen. The Collapse is appropriate music for Saturday evening porch-sitting, international jet-setting or hours long sessions of love-making. Sexy, without being sexualized. Well done.

I think you’ll agree too – get “The Collapse” on iTunes and stream “Mussorgsky’s house” now.

Buffy Sainte-Marie Interviews on Democracy Now and CBC Radio

Gemini and Juno award-winning Cree singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie recently sat down with Democracy Now to talk about the origins of her love for music, her early family life, and her life as an activist. CBC Music documentary maker Philip Coulter also recently honored Sainte-Marie and her nearly 50 year-long career with a piece created from over 30 years of archived interviews with the singer, songwriter, visual artist and activist.

Originally from the Piapot Cree Indian reserve in the Qu’Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada, she was raised in Wakefield, Massachusetts, before being welcomed back to the Piapot Cree during a Pow Wow ceremony in 1964. During the course of her career, Buffy Sainte-Marie has received honorary Doctor of Laws and Letters degrees from a variety of reputable institutions such as the University of Regina in her home territory of Saskatchewan, and Emily Carr University and the University of British Columbia in Vancouver, BC, among others. In the last 48 years she has put out eighteen albums. Buffy Sainte-Marie has been covered by Donovan, Joe Cocker, Neil Diamond, Giovanni, Janis Joplin, Courtney Love and many others.

During these two interviews, Ms. Sainte-Marie recalls memories from the 1960′s era of grassroots social movements, when she was just beginning her career as a traveling singer-songwriter. At that time, Ms. Sainte-Marie was traveling to cafes and campuses around North America, writing and performing songs that weren’t typically found in mainstream music which, as she describes them, were “original to me, but an absorption and a reflection of what I was seeing on the streets and in college campuses.”

It was a time when reactionary political activism in resistance to the Vietnam War and other political injustices had spread throughout student unions and subcultures across North America. Many artists had taken stances on political issues – John Lennon and Yoko Ono, Bob Dylan, and many others began using music to speak out against corruption and human rights violations being perpetrated by both foreign and domestic governments. On the show, Ms. Sainte-Marie performs her 1964 anthem Universal Soldier, a song portraying anti-war sentiment sewn through and through which speaks to the political climate at that time. “I wrote Universal Soldier in the basement of The Purple Onion coffee house in Toronto in the early sixties. It’s about individual responsibility for war and how the old feudal thinking kills us all.”

It is inspiring to hear Ms. Sainte-Marie speak of her convictions and her motivations for being onstage, as she tells Democracy Now that it was always the messaging in her music that she felt protected by and which gives her the confidence to be on stage. She describes her motivation for writing Now That The Buffalo Is Gone, a song written during the Seneca Nation’s battle with the United States in its effort to build the Kinzu Dam, which would eventually flood their traditional territories and force hundreds of Seneca to relocate from 10,000 acres of land they had occupied under the 1794 Treaty of Canandaigua. Ms. Sainte-Marie acknowledges the unbalanced and often biased perspectives offered by mainstream media as a motivating factor in writing the song, which speaks to the damage that misrepresentation can cause in relations between First Nations and surrounding national governments – a challenge which sounds all too familiar 50 years later.

This author has grown up hearing the songs of Buffy Sainte-Marie from the tops of kitchen tables in many family member’s homes, and for that reason, it is an honor to present this article and these two interviews for RPM’s readers. Enjoy.

Watch: Buffy Sainte-Marie on Democracy Now, Part 1 at RPM.fm

In the course of creating the documentary Still This Love Goes On: The Songs of Buffy Sainte-Marie, Philip Coulter listened to literally hours and hours of the CBC Radio interviews the songwriter gave over the past 30 years. Coulter reacquainted himself with Sainte-Marie’s body of work (eighteen albums since 1964) and had his own face-to-face interview with her in Calgary this past April.

To listen to Still This Love Goes On: The Songs of Buffy Sainte-Marie by Philip Coulter at CBC Music, click here.

Jerry Sereda Chats with CBC Music


Jerry Sereda is a Métis country-rock artist from Winnipeg, Manitoba, who is aiming to shoot his next video with the help of his devoted fans. CBC Music got the inside scoop.

Jerry Sereda released his second full-length album last fall and has been enjoying success on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown charts and Canadian Country Music charts since. He attributes part of his success to his community in Winnipeg and in is inviting his hometown fans to be part of his next music video.

From music.cbc.ca, Jerry Sereda gives back to his fans with latest video shoot:

Q: What song from your latest albumTurn the Country On will you turn into a music video?
A: I don’t want to give away the name of the song just yet. I like to keep it a bit of a surprise for the people who decide to come out, and take part in the video, and enjoy the show…

Q: Why is it important to have your fans come out and be a part of the video?
A: We’d love to have a lot of familiar faces out to the video shoot, and a lot of new ones to create the proper party atmosphere, and to have the proper energy in the room. Plus we’re hoping to have this video on CMT, and we’d like to brag a little to the rest of the country and show off the energy and beauty of the great people of Manitoba.

We look forward to seeing it!

Read the full article by Kim Ziervogel here: music.cbc.ca/#/blogs/2012/3/Jerry-Sereda-gives-back-to-his-fans-with-latest-video-shoot.

The new CBC series 8th Fire, hosted by Wab Kinew and featuring Winnipeg’s Most amongst many other talented Indians, challenges the relationships between “us” and “them”.

Tonight debuts the first episode of 8th Fire, the new, four-part CBC series exploring relationship building between Indigenous and settler society in Canada. Geared towards a much larger, non-Indigenous audience, the first episode is meant to introduce a broad cross-section of Aboriginal peoples to Canada and features rappers Winnipeg’s MostTaiaiake Alfred, and Evan Adams amongst others.

RPM’s Marika Swan spoke with Jon-C of hip-hop group Winnipeg’s Most about their involvement in the project. Read the whole article here: http://rpm.fm/news/new-series-the-8th-fire-premiers-on-cbc/