Hi there! My name is Emma Wolno, and this summer I'm working at OIMA as one of your Aboriginal Music Archive Coordinators!
One thing I love about music is the mix of old and new. My mind is in a state of pure bliss whether I'm dusting off an old record, or downloading a new EP an up an coming band just posted on their website for free.
This is one of the reasons I've really loved diving into Aboriginal music this summer. One minute I'll be listening to traditional folk songs about Native culture, the next, I'll be listening to a bass heavy electronic number with sampling from Steven Harper's Statement of Apology to former students of Indian Residential schools.
One can see this in Ottawa's very own electronic DJ group, A Tribe Called Red, who've been catapulted onto the world stage this year, currently nominated for the prestigious Polaris Prize (for the second time). The production trio fuses traditional Native musical elements such as pow wow drumming and chanting with cutting edge electronic music. The group has been referred to as 'the face of an urban Native youth renaissance'.
While certain newer artists seem to be everywhere, researching and finding many of the older ones sometimes feels like a treasure hunt. With limited digital information on so many of these amazing artists, our prize at the end of our hunt will hopefully be a place Canadians can hear and appreciate the historical greatness of Ontario Aboriginal musicians.
Everyday, I've been learning more and more about Ontario's vast and varied Aboriginal music scene, and I can't wait to share what I find with you!