Tkaronto Music Festival 2021 Artists
UNIQUE & SOULFUL BLEND OF AMERICANA ROOTS POP
The fifth album from Ottawa-raised, Toronto-based singer/songwriter Amanda Rheaume, The Skin I’m In presents a compellingly portrait of an artist fully comfortable in her own skin, personally and musically.
Produced by Colin Cripps (Blue Rodeo, Junkhouse) at The Tragically Hip’s famed Bathouse Studio, it sports a full-blooded band sound, thanks to the contributions of an A-list musical supporting cast.
Rheaume’s supple and expressive vocals fit neatly in the centre of the sonic landscape, while her eloquent and well-crafted songs were written with such noted collaborators as Jason Blaine, Melanie Brulée, Jim Bryson, Justin Glasco, and Tim Bovaconti.
One of Rheaume’s great gifts as a songwriter is her ability to take the personal and make it universal, drawing upon her own experience to deliver messages with a wide resonance. She digs deep on The Skin I’m In, reflecting upon her Metis heritage, as on the profoundly moving title track and “Return To The Water,” and addressing issues of identity and mental health.
Her earlier albums met with widespread critical acclaim. 2013’s Keep A Fire earned her a 2014 Canadian Folk Music Award for Aboriginal Songwriter of The Year as well as a Juno Award nomination for Aboriginal Album of the Year, while 2016’s Holding Patterns received a Canadian Folk Music Awards nomination.
An engaging performer, Rheaume has developed a following across Canada and in Europe, where she tours regularly.
She has long employed her music as a force for good, as shown by three trips to Afghanistan to perform for Canadian military personnel, plus visits to the Alert base in Canada’s far north and the Indigenous community of Attawapiskat.
Rheaume co-founded Babes4Breasts, an initiative that, through concerts and recording projects, raised money for breast cancer charities across Canada over a 10-year period.
This is an artist with a heart as big as her talent.
Bridget George is an Anishinaabe illustrator, mother and children’s book author based in London, Ontario.
Raised on Kettle and Stony Point First Nation, she is passionate about visual storytelling through vibrant, playful illustrations, language learning and daydreaming.
Her very first children’s book titled “It’s a Mitig!”, is a dual-language book written in a rhyming combination of Ojibwe and English for young readers and language learners like herself. In the short time since her first publication, Bridget has been honoured to have been given the opportunity to work on multiple projects that highlight indigenous characters, languages and stories and she hopes to continue to do so.
“I’ve always connected with artists whose voices resonate; you can feel it in your body. That is what I’ve always wanted to be.”
With a confident voice and boundless energy, Celeigh Cardinal owns a stage connecting deeply with her audience through humour, passion and love. Whether sweetly strumming an acoustic guitar or leading her band in a rocking rave-up, she commands our attention. Her singing is rich and deep with a burnished maturity and a nimble technical virtuosity that wraps itself around notes with a purr, a snarl or something in the middle. Her songs are authentic and heartfelt and connect us to the healing power of music. Cardinal has received many accolades and nominations for her two full-length albums, but most notably was awarded the 2020 Juno Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year and recently received two 2020 Western Canadian Music Award Nominations.
Coming off of a whirlwind (if unpredictable) year, powerhouse Canadian duo Crown Lands—Kevin Comeau (guitar, bass, and keys) and Cody Bowles (vocals and drums)—have returned with two songs that bring them back to their prog-rock roots and point the way to a limitless future. “Context: Fearless Pt. 1” and “Right Way Back” also connect the group to their legendary countrymen Rush, the band that served as their initial inspiration, in ways they never could have expected.
Crown Lands’ self-titled debut album, produced by Grammy-nominated Dave Cobb, was released in the summer of 2020, to widespread acclaim. But without the ability to tour during a global pandemic, the pair was frustrated by their inability to bring their blistering, hard-charging music to the people. So, like most of us, they adapted. They released an acoustic EP, Wayward Flyers Volume 1, including a cover of Neil Young’s “Birds.” They also focused on the politically charged song and video “End of the Road,” which pays tribute to the Indigenous womxn, girls, and two-spirits who have gone missing on the Highway of Tears in North British Columbia.
The forced time off led the members of Crown Lands to think more about their direction and their ambition. Just prior to lockdown, they had revisited a song that they had been messing around with for years. They were connected to Terry Brown, who was Rush’s producer for ten years—which, being obsessive Rush fans (they first bonded over Comeau’s Rush tattoo), was already a dream come true. They went into the studio with him just to cut early demos for “Context: Fearless Pt. 1,” but Brown insisted on trying a real recording.
After a bunch of touring, the band’s performance of “Context: Fearless Pt. 1” would naturally get sharper the more they played it live so they looked to re-record it. They scheduled time to travel to Nashville and work with Nick Raskulinecz, who—astonishingly enough—was Rush’s producer in their later years. But they day before the scheduled session, Rush’s legendary drummer Neil Peart died after a fight with brain cancer. They assumed the trip was off, but Raskulinecz texted them with the message, “you guys need to carry the torch—you need to come down here.”
In the studio, the producer brought out a drum kit that Peart had used on the 2007 Snakes & Arrowsalbum for Bowles to play. (“It was the most spiritual experience in my life,” he says.) But when they got the rough mix of the song, the vocals still needed some work. Working remotely, since quarantine had now started, the record label hooked Crown Lands up with David Bottrill—who remixed Vapor Trails, Rush’s 2002 comeback record – to mix the vocals.
The second new song, “Right Way Back,” is a tribute to Peart that came almost effortlessly. They brought it to Nashville as a rough demo, working out the chorus and writing the lyrics on the spot.
Following the release of “Context: Fearless Pt. 1” and “Right Way Back,” Crown Lands plans to begin recording again, and to put out a series of songs in small batches throughout the year, with more flexibility to experiment than they would have focusing on a larger album project. “These are our best songs yet,” says Bowles, “and they’re opening the door for the future. They propel us to a whole new era of music, and hint at what’s to come.”
An engaging storyteller, singer-songwriter and performer, three-time JUNO Award nominee Don Amero has been tirelessly touring, performing and speaking across Canada for the last decade, earning the respect and attention of the Canadian Music industry and fans alike. With a proven ability to effortlessly and genuinely connect with his audience, Amero’s talents have been much sought after, and in early 2019 he became a part of the MDM Recordings Inc. roster.
Amero, who is of Cree and Metis heritage, has been recognized for his advocacy work within Indigenous communities and beyond, including his participation as a youth mentor for the Winnipeg Jets and True North Youth Foundation’s ‘Project 11’. An avid public speaker, Amero created the ‘Music Is Medicine’ workshop, presenting the impact and power music has mentally and physically, and this year was named the first ever advisor and Chair of the CCMA Equity, Diversity and Inclusion Committee.
Amero’s 2020 EP “The Next Chapter” highlighted his more tender side, featuring the hit tracks “Morning Coffee”, “Wouldn’t Be Home” and “Wasn’t The Dress”, and with uplifting beauty across seven albums, he leaves a lasting impression. His recent national TV appearances include The Marilyn Denis Show, ET Canada, the 2020 CCMA Awards and more, and fans can continue to cheer for Amero as he competes as a semi-finalist in the 2020/2021 SiriusXM Top of the Country competition, vying for the grand prize of $25k. For more information please visit https://donamero.ca/.
Jace Martin is Mohawk from The Six Nations of The Grand River and he is a USA Billboard Mainstream Top 40 Charting artist & producer. He has toured North America and shared the stage with Salome Bey, Robbie Robertson, Sam Moore, Jonny Lang & More. He newest album “Rainboworld” released in 2020 is dedicated to his greatest mentor in music, Salome Bey. The album features excerpts from the theatre production Rainboworld, written by Salome Bey and ft Divine Brown, Joey Stylez, HellNBack, Gavin Brown, Justin Abedin and more.
Lido Pimienta’s new album ‘Miss Colombia,’ the anticipated follow-up to ‘La Papessa,’ which was awarded the Polaris Music Prize in 2017, is available now. The Colombian-born, Toronto-based global beats trailblazer recorded the album in her home studio, with some additional recording done in the historic Colombian town of San Basilio de Palenque. Miss Colombia boasts 11 new and original songs that boldly celebrate Lido’s ecstatic musical hybridity of electronic meets cumbia, and is at once defiant and delicate, exploratory and confrontational. All of the songs were written and arranged by Lido, and she co-produced the album with Matt Smith aka Prince Nifty.
The album title was partly inspired by the Miss Universe gaffe in 2015, when Steve Harvey mistakenly awarded the crown to Miss Colombia instead of Miss Philippines. It caused Lido to reflect on the anti-blackness she’s experienced, and how she was viewed as an outsider in adolescence, a “weird artistic tomboy” for not adhering to the expected norms projected upon her. Lido – an Afro-Indigenous, queer feminist – created Miss Colombia as a canvas for introspection, with pieces about love (and self-love), and loss. Other songs confront divisive politics in Colombia, Indigenous inequality and racism, and ultimately to bring her closer to home.
Musically it digs deeply into the history of Afro-Latin musics, from Palenque to cumbia – styles that Lido embraced after being introduced to Sexteto Tabala, one of the most representative musical expressions of the African communities in Colombia (who are also featured on the album). The album also features Bomba Estereo’s Li Saumet. Lido has an affinity for acts like A Tribe Called Red and Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, but her work also resonates with British-Sri Lankan rapper MIA and she draws unabashed inspiration from the New York-bred Dominican-Trinidadian rap queen Cardi B
Northern Cree is a nine-time GRAMMY-nominated pow wow drum group from Treaty Six territory with 49 albums to their credit. The group was formed in 1982 by Charles Wood Jr., Earl Wood, Randy Wood, and Steve Wood. They started releasing music in 1991 and made history in 2017 when they became the first pow wow group to perform at the GRAMMY Awards ceremony in Los Angeles.
Northern Cree is led by Steve Wood and includes Joel Wood, Marlon Deschamps, Shane Dion, Marcus Denny, Leroy Whitstone, Marvin Deschamps, Jordon Fiddler, Emerson Samson, Penny McGilvery, Dezi Chocan, Randall Paskemin, Jamon Paskemin, Gilbert Buffalo, Desmond Redcalf, Jonas Tootoosis, Ben Cardinal, Kyle Pasquayak, Shaina McGilvery, and Jayzer Littlewolfe.
Since 1999, Northern Cree has earned a total of 44 nominations and 18 awards for their music.
Shawnee Kish discovered music as medicine at a very early age. Born dreaming about being on stage and starting her journey toward a career in music at the age of 12, music has quickly become a source of self-empowerment for the Two Spirit soulful singer. Fuelling her with purpose and reason, making music has allowed Shawnee’s to stand tall in her personal strength and power. Named the winner of CBC’s 2020 Searchlight talent competition, this fierce, powerhouse artist has been celebrated as one of North America’s Top Gender Bending Artists (MTV), named by Billboard as an Artist You Need To Know and continuously uses her music to empower.
Listening to her chart-topping releases one can easily recognize that, as an artist, Shawnee has been influenced by the strong, confident voices of female performers such as Melissa Etheridge, Etta James, Nina Simone and Amy Winehouse. Her deeply personal and always poignant lyrics are rooted in healing, allowing both herself and her listeners to find purpose and reason in the stories she tells.
An outspoken advocate for her Indigenous and LGBTQ2+ communities, Shawnee is a proud Two Spirit Mohawk who has shared the stage with some of the world’s biggest names — Lady Gaga, Madonna and Alicia Keys to name a few. 2020 saw her step into the world of virtual performances without hesitation, taking part in The Canada House/UK Commerce International Women’s Day Virtual Performance, performing at The Songwriter Series with Serena Ryder and participating in the RBC’s Emerging Artist program. In addition to virtual performances, Shawnee raised her voice on a Grammy Museum Discussion Panel (Being an Artist During COVID) and joined the National Arts Centre of Canada on a collaborative youth project (ongoing).
2021 will see the Edmonton-based artist release a new EP that addresses her personal struggles of the past twelve months — “The main theme will be lighting up what use to be and getting on with what is now. The songs represent becoming yourself, finding out where you were was not where you wanted to be and fully embracing that in order to let go. Light the Place up, even if it’s unintentional” — and hopefully return to touring.
She will also continue her work with the We Matter Campaign and Kids Help Phone in hopes of empowering youth, providing strength and hope through music.
Snotty Nose Rez Kids
Snotty Nose Rez Kids is a Haisla Hip-Hop duo from Kitimat, BC, composed of rappers Yung Trybez & Young D. Formed in 2016, SNRK released back-to-back albums in 2017, self-titled debut in Jan 2017 & The Average Savage in Sept 2017. The latter secured them Best Hip Hop Artist at the Western Canadian Music Awards, cemented them 2018’s Polaris Music Prize Short List, & landed them a 2019 Juno Nomination for Best Indigenous Music Album. The group toured heavily in Canada with appearances in NYC, Seattle and Darwin, Australia. They quickly gained notoriety for their energetic, inspiring and thought provoking shows.
SNRK led 2019 with their 3rd album, TRAPLINE, which received stellar reviews and press from Exclaim!, Beatroute, Bandcamp, Hip Hop Canada, CBCMusic, Complex, Hype Magazine, Okayplayer, Noisey, & FADER. The duo embarked on a 60+ show tour of Canada, US, Mexico, UK & Australia receiving a groundswell of support for their live show, scoring 9/9 on multiple Exclaim! show reviews. That same year, SNRK won Breakout Artist at the WCMA’s & the album was Shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, marking SNRK as one of only three artists to ever be shortlisted back-to-back years. They wrapped up 2019 with TRAPLINE listed on numerous Best Album of the Year lists. Exclaim! named TRAPLINE one of the 50 Best Albums of the 2010’s, Top 10 Hip Hop Album of the Year, & Top 50 Songs of the 2010’s for Boujee Natives. SNRK begin 2020 with their first headlining US Tour, the Born Deadly Tour.
Multi-award winning, chart-topping Indigenous folk artists Twin Flames combines the talents of husband and wife duo Chelsey June, métis (Algonquin Cree) from Ottawa, and Jaaji, Inuk and Mohawk from Nunavik. Twin Flames are long celebrated for their sonic landscapes spanning Canada and the Arctic, and honouring their ancestors through song in English, Inuttitut and French, along the way.
Using unique sounds, Indigenous Spirit flutes, traditional drums and western instruments, synthesizing harmonies, Twin Flames unveil a raw and honest experience. A unique eye-opening show that leaves audiences with a greater sense of knowledge and sensitivity.
They’ve been nominated for 24 awards — including two Canadian Folk Music Award wins, and three Native American Music Award wins — Two number 1 Hits on the Indigenous Music Countdown’s Top 40, played more than 1000+ shows throughout Canada, Greenland, the United States, Australia and France, were selected as artist-in-residence for the 2019 Folk Alliance International conference, partnered with UNESCO to write the official song celebrating the International Year of Indigenous Languages “Human”. The song Human was later chosen as part of CBC’s Music class challenge. Their music video for Broke Down Ski’tuuq was the first Inuttitut music video to be featured on MuchMusic.
As a member of the “Apsáalooke Nation”, Supaman makes his home on the Crow reservation in Montana. “Supaman” Is Christian Takes Gun Parrish, a Native American dancer and innovative hip hop artist who has dedicated his life to empowering and spreading a message of hope, pride and resilience through his original art form. He is a multi national award winning artist including the MTV VMA award for “Best Fight Against the System” and numerous Indigenous Music Awards. His video’s have received millions of views on youtube and facebook which have put him in high demand touring extensively to festivals, colleges, conferences, communities, and schools throughout the U.S.A and internationally. He has performed for Google at the Google headquarters in San Francisco. He recently was asked to audition for America’s Got Talent and the Broadway play Hamilton. He is currently working with Taboo from the multi grammy award winning group “Black Eyed Peas”.
Supaman’s one of a kind presentation combines Native American culture, comedy and urban hip hop culture which dazzles audiences and captivates listeners. For this he has gained the respect of his community and generation. The communicative talent along with the compassion that exudes from his storytelling of his experiences with foster care, suicide and cultural identity, allows him to connect with people from all walks of life. His uncanny ability to motivate, encourage, and inspire through dance, and hip hop music keeps him at the forefront among his contemporaries which gives him a platform to educate on Indigenous issues.