Kinnie Starr and Cris Derksen: The National Music Centre Artists in Residence

The new Astral Radio Artist-in-Residence program at Calgary’s National Music Centre is currently hosting electro-cellist Cris Derksen and hip-hop chanteuse Kinnie Starr for a week of collaboration and experimentation.

The National Music Centre (NMC) kicked off the Astral Radio Artist-in-Residence (A.I.R.) earlier this year with Kurt Swinghammer and last week welcomed Cris Derksen and Kinnie Starr to collaborate, record and perform with the NMC collection – a collection that boasts over 2,000 instruments and artifacts.


The National Music Centre (NMC) and Astral Radio are thrilled to welcome the fifth installment of the NMC Astral Radio Artist-in-Residence program with Toronto’s Kinnie Starr and Vancouver’s Cris Derksen tackling the amazing NMC collection for a week of recording and sonic experimentation…

Together, they are launching their new collaborative project, BEAMS. Sharing a strong interest in landscape and heritage both physically and sonically, they are a perfect match for exploration and creative discovery.

“We are extremely excited to work with the instruments at NMC” says Derksen “to expand on what we’re already doing, but to also delve into a whole new world of experimentation with instruments we’ve only heard about, but never had  the chance to actually play.”

The goal of the residency is for Starr and Derksen to use these new and innovative instruments to collaborate in creating something unique and fresh. “It’s an incredible opportunity to be able to expand the perimeters our tools can take us,” says Derksen “I think KStarr and I are a perfect match – we instantly speak the same language about music and how to take it to the places we want to go, seeking the same path and outcomes.”

We’re big fans of both Derksen and Starr here at RPM (in case you hadn’t noticed) and are thrilled about this new project. The outcome is sure to be fantastic.

For anyone in the Calgary area, you can attend the performance this Friday December 7th at 8pm. Visit for details.

For more information on the NMC Artist-in-Residence program including how to apply, visit

Flying Down Thunder Dreams Big with Culture

Kevin Chief, aka Flying Down Thunder of the Juno-nominated duo Flying Down Thunder and Rise Ashen, speaks on the origins of their cross-cultural collaboration and inspirations.

I got a chance to pick the brain of Ottawa-based artist Kevin Chief aka Flying Down Thunder about his inspirations for his musical process, how the group Flying Down Thunder and Rise Ashen formed, and his words of advice for youth.

STREAM: Flying Down Thunder Dreams Big with Culture at

Archival remix project “General Generations” featuring A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red collaborates with archival wax cylinder recordings made by Cayuga chief Alexander J. General in the 1930s to create new track General Generations. 

Nolan Warden, a PhD candidate in ethnomusicology at UCLA, was blown away when he first came across A Tribe Called Red (ATCR) and contacted them to see if they would be interested in giving archival field recordings a new life. ATCR, being the sweethearts they are, enthusiastically agreed. After sifting through various recordings to find just the right match, they settled on an archival wax recording of Cayuga chief Alexander J. General (Deskáheh).This seemed liked the destined fit since both Bear Witness and DJ Shub are Cayugan and DJ Shub’s name is Dan General. The possibility of a family connection got them all excited and they created this incredible collaboration which starts out with a clever sample of the archive indexer’s voice.

Listen to their collaboration online here: