Kevin “Sipreano” Howes and Duke Redbird are both involved in a lovely and vital new compilation called Native North America (Vol. 1) – Aboriginal Folk, Rock, and Country 1966-1985, which is out now via Light in the Attic Records. Exhaustively researched curated by Howes, the triple LP/double CD features rare and scarce music made by the likes of Redbird, Willie Dunn, Sugluk, Willie Thrasher, Sikumlut, and many more figures from all across Canada. Earlier this week, Howes, Redbird, and I met in Toronto for a conversation about this project and here, we discuss things like the pool table that Duke painted, growing up in Richmond Hill Ontario with a killer record collection, getting into punk and hip-hop, sample-based culture and the roots of music, Bob Marley’s ska and early reggae records, Ty the record seller in Vancouver’s Red Barn Flea Market, truly underground Canadian music, becoming a music journalist and going on the road to hunt for cool records with Birdapres, discovering records by Alexsis Utatnaq, WIllie Dunn, and other Canadian indigenous artists, when CBC would document regional artists and press vinyl for internal use, musical investigation, Facebook and the internet are known as “the great radio” by some Inuit artists, tracking down Tayara Papigatuk from Sugluk via a local radio station, the rare interviews that contextualize Native North America (Vol. 1), people should pay for this compilation man, learning more about the roots of Canada and its brutal past, struggle, pain, joy, and punk rock, the ‘moment’ of heightened awareness for Native culture and issues, timelessness, Duke joins us, there’s been very little improvement in the social fabric of First Nations and the Canadian government, a guaranteed annual income among law-abiding citizens that’s similar to what prisoners receive, free market democracy, electronic re-tribalization via social media, wearable technologies, Me & U and the future is now, self-preservation and romance versus power and money, why indigenous culture doesn’t seem to experience the same civil rights progressive acceptance as that of other cultures and lifestyles, either or and why, agrarian cultures, commerce and greed, poetry and music, hanging out with Bruce Cockburn and Joni Mitchell in Toronto, why Native North America is hugely important for Aboriginal culture, this music is rare and somewhat uncollected, artistic resurrections, working for love, anthologizing Willie Dunn’s music and films, there’s more material out there, showcasing American artists in volume two, the song “Silver River” by Shingoose featuring the poetry of Duke Redbird, which was inspired by Redbird’s Yorkville flatmate Joni Mitchell, being around when Gordon Lightfoot, Murray McLachlan, and Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee were hanging around Yorkville, writing a poem about an afternoon spent with Leonard Cohen and Ramblin’ Jack Elliott, and then it’s to the future.
Related links: lightintheattic.net vishkhanna.com
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