Bear Witness is a co-founder of the inventive Ottawa-based trio A Tribe Called Red. Renowned for making a sophisticated kind of dance music dubbed “Electric Pow Wow,” A Tribe Called Red’s live show is a sensory overload, mixing powerful music with stunning visual imagery drawing from underground and aboriginal culture. Their infectious energy has translated well onto record too; their 2013 album Nation II Nation made the shortlist for the Polaris Music Prize, earning the group the high profile and platform they so richly deserve. A Tribe Called Red are touring across Canada with select U.S. dates in February, including a stop at Guelph’s Hillside Inside festival on Friday Feb. 7. Here, Bear and I discuss remembering Vish, the Polaris Music Prize gala, having to follow METZ, feeling like you belong, and Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s victory, the biggest challenges in gaining a broader audience, the level with which fans engage with what A Tribe Called Red addresses in their work, the surprising influx of conscientious, knowledgeable music fans, making music as a political act, #idlenomore and the significance of ‘the moment,’ the intersection between traditional rhythms and beat culture, the band’s plans for their new album, the song “Sisters,” and more.
Related links: atribecalledred.com hillsidefestival.ca vishkhanna.com
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