Ten Indigenous Artists for Indigenous History Month
Updated: Jul 1
By Morgan Burdick
June 30th is the final day of Indigenous History Month in Canada. For indigenous people in Canada and around the world, music is an important part of their culture, as well as bringing their heritage into mainstream media. At Livewire, we celebrate the diverse culture of Indigenous people around the world, and recognise our privilege in the United Kingdom. We will continue to support music from a wide range of cultures in order to uplift and create safe spaces for different communities.
A Tribe Called Red
This Canadian music group fuses contemporary electronic hip-hop and reggae music with First Nations music. For non-indigenous listeners,this music really brings a boost of energy, and is perfect for walking into a job interview or important seminar with confidence.
Digging Roots is a much more soulful group, inspired by elements of Blues music. The band consists of Raven Kanetakta and ShoShona Kish, a husband and wife duo from Ontario, Canada. Similarly to A Tribe Called Red, their music combines traditional First Nations elements like drums and vocal chanting. However, their sound is influenced by blues and folk music, rather than contemporary electronic music.
DJ Shub is a member of the Six Nations of the Grand River, as well as a Mohawk DJ and music producer. He was formerly a member of A Tribe Called Red until 2014, when he branched out independently. His music emphasises on the chanting and drums, pushing electronic music further with every release.
The Jerry Cans
The Jerry Cans consists of five members from Iqaluit, Nunavut, located in the far north of Canada. Their music is largely spoken in Inuqtitut, the Indigenous language of the Inuit people. Their folk-inspired sound includes themes surrounding the Northern Lights, with traditional Inuit throat singing.
Tanya Tagaq is an Inuk throat singer from the Nunavut Territory in Canada. She describes herself as an ‘experimental vocalist’, performing solo in a musical style that is generally sung by two women. However, she has continued to be wildly successful, both in her independent work and in collaborations with other Indigenous artists.
As a Cree/Salish artist, Fawn Wood does not need to be reminded of the dangers of being an Indigenous woman. In the United States and Canada, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women (or MMIW) are part of an epidemic stemming from the systemic oppression of native people in North America. Her song “Remember Me’ has become the anthem of MMIW awareness and activism.
Waak Waak Djungi
This group is formed by three Yolgnu songmen, a traditional form of storytelling for the Aboriginal aggregation. Their LP consists of traditional Yolgnu stories accompanied with retro acid grooves. For non-indigenous listeners, this is great background music for studying or walking into university with good vibes!
From the Northern Territory in Australia, Emily Wurramara strives to empower other Aboriginal women. Her music is sung in both English and Anindilyakwa, the native language of the Warnindhilyagwa people. She uses music to present personal stories from her experiences on Groote Eylandt where she was born.
Ziggy Ramo uses his voice as an Aboriginal rapper to discuss race relations in Australia. He has been applauded as a refreshing hip-hop artist in the era of overproduced auto-tuned rap, whilst bringing Aboriginal political rights to the forefront of his lyrics.
Neil Morris, the voice behind DRMNGNOW is unapologetic in his lyrics surrounding his Aboriginal heritage. His entire discography is thought-provoking, with discussions surrounding indigenous heritage and future dominating his music. However, the sound of his work continues to be important, and his innovative style of hip-hop and R&B is refreshing.