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Music

Indigenous musicians

Click on the genre tabs to find links to websites/streaming platforms of a selection of Indigenous musicians. Wherever possible, we have listed basic information about each artist as quoted or paraphrased from their website. This list is growing. Please let us know if you have suggestions for artists to add we want to hear from you!

This list has been inspired by – and incorporates content from  the Xwi7xwa Library Indigenous Music & Dance research guide. Thank you to the Xwi7xwa Library team for your generosity in sharing this knowledge!

Contemporary

Music and Modernity among First Peoples of North America

Victoria Lindsay Levine & Dylan Robinson, 2019
Call number: ML 3550 M88 2019

Opera Indigene: Re/presenting First Nations and Indigenous Cultures

Pamela Karantonis & Dylan Robinson, 2011
E-book

Aboriginal Music in Contemporary Canada: Echoes and Exchanges

Anna Hoefnagels & Beverley Diamond, 2012
E-book and in print: ML 3563.6 A154 2012

Indigenous Pop: Native American Music from Jazz to Hip Hop

Jeff Berglund, Jan Johnson & Kimberli Lee, 2016
Call number: ML 3557 I63 2016

Indigenous music online

Indigenous music programming

Indigenous Music Countdown - The Indigenous Music Countdown, hosted by Roz McIvor, presents new Indigenous music and shares interviews from artists representing a range of genres including hip-hop, rock, country, alternative, rock, folk and pop/dance.

Reclaimed with Jarrett Martineau, CBC Radio - Reclaimed is a weekly series on CBC Radio that explores the many worlds of contemporary Indigenous music from traditional songs and acoustic sounds to Native hip-hop, R&B, and the dancefloor-filling beats of electric powwow.

sākihiwē festival (formerly Aboriginal Music Week) - Website featuring news articles, artist bios, streaming music and more.

Indigenous in Music with Larry K - Host Larry Knudsen, Ho–Chunk Nation, Black River Falls, WI, brings live interviews and a mix of new music from Indigenous musicians from around the Western Hemisphere, a variety of rock, pop, country, flute, salsa, classical, house and electronica.


Playlists & programs

sākihiwē festival Indigenous Excellence Streaming Playlist - Youtube playlist curated by the sākihiwē festival featuring a variety of Indigenous musicians.

Digital Drum Video - Video playlist by Digital Drum, an Indigenous Music Media platform that showcases innovative talents and reaches within our emerging communities to bring you closer to the music. Digital Drum is no longer creating new content; however, existing playlists and video content on Youtube remain accessible.

CBC Cross Country Checkup: Art & Reconciliation - Hosted by Duncan McCue (2016), this 2 hour radio program asks if art — films, books, and music — offers the best path to heal historical wrongs. Guests include author Joseph Boyden, Inuk singer and songwriter Susan Aglukark, Ry Moran, Director of the National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at the University of Manitoba, and University of Saskatchewan's Ken Coates.

Buffy - CBC Podcasts - Buffy Sainte-Marie is one of the most prolific singer-songwriters of the past century. For 60 years her music has quietly reverberated throughout pop culture, and provided a touchstone for Indigenous resistance. In this five-part series, Mohawk and Tuscarora writer Falen Johnson explores how Buffy’s life and legacy is essential to understanding Indigenous resilience.


Websites

60 Years of Indigenous Music Game Changers, CBC Music - A (non-exhaustive) list celebrating a number of Indigenous artists and groups that have helped shape and continue to shape music across Canada.

IndigenousMusic.ca - Manitoba-based website providing articles, media, and information about Indigenous music in Manitoba and beyond. Part of the Indigenous Music Development Program helping First Nation peoples, Metis peoples and Inuit develop sustainable careers in the music industry.

Native Drums - Website devoted to the rich heritage of First Nations culture and music in Canada. Includes videos, and moving image galleries for Youth, in-depth interviews and articles for students, the image research database for scholars, and downloadable resource kits for teachers.

Jacob's Pillow Dance Interactive - Streaming playlist, Indigenous Dance of the Americas, focuses on music and dance of the Indigenous Peoples of the Mohican, Nipmuc, Poncumtuc, and Agawam Tribes from present day and into the past. 

Indigenous music in film

Tomson Highway: kipimâtisinaw tapâhpeyahk

Written & directed by Barry Bilinsky
Original music by Tomson Highway

National Film Board of Canada, 2022

Publicity poster from Rumble: The Indians who Rocked the World

Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World

Written by Catherine Bainbridge & Alfonso Maiorana
Original soundtrack by Benoît  Charest

Rezolution Pictures, 2017

Film still from The Road Forward

The Road Forward

Written and directed by Marie Clements
Composed by Wayne Lavallee

National Film Board of Canada, 2017

Film still from Innu-Aimun - The Innu Language

Innu-Aimun - The Innu Language

Written and directed by Carl Grégoire and Spencer St-Onge
Original music by Uashtushkuau

National Film Board of Canada, 2009

Film still from Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life

Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life

Directed by Joan Prowse
CineFocus, 2006

Film still from Masko Nimiwin (The Bear's Dance)

Masko Nimiwin (The Bear's Dance)

Directed by Marie-Christine Petiquay
Original music by Black Bear & Thunderbird

National Film Board of Canada, 2009