The Long Wait for "Light" from Digging Roots


It's been four years since blues duo Digging Roots released their last album but with one listen you'll agree it's been worth the wait.

Inspired by their travels, For The Light, firmly inhabits roots and blues with a nomadic wanderlust; confidently exploring other terrains from the inner cities, the back roads and all the places in between. The husband and wife songwriting team, Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish have written and produced a collection of love songs that reflects a maturing sense of storytelling. With sweet harmonies smokey wails and melodic accompaniments of ukulele, banjo, mellotron and of course Raven’s bombastic resonator guitar, this album is something special; an eclectic tapestry of light and dark sound that is vintage and fresh all at once.

Digging Roots are formidable live - be sure to catch them on the road this summer (tour dates below). Get the album on iTunes and start singing along (in Anishinabemowin and English) to the brilliant title track, For the Light:


Digging Roots' Summer Tour Dates 2014:

06/26/14 Toronto, ON Dundas Square

06/27/14 Midland, ON Midland Cultural Centre

06/29/14 Quebec City, QC Television Performance

07/01/14 Barrie, ON Heritage Park

07/11/14 - 07/13/14 Comox, BC Vancouver Island MusicFest

07/15/14 Duncan, BC Duncan Showroom Productions

07/17/14 - 07/20/14 Yellowknife, NWT Folk On The Rocks

07/23/14 Regina, SK 2014 Indigenous Games

08/01/14 Spence’s Bridge, BC N’kemin Voices of the Valley

08/06/14 Kelowna, BC Minstrel Café

08/06/14 - 08/07/14 Wayland, MI Pottawatami Gathering

08/15/14 - 08/17/14 Dunster, BC Robson Valley Music Festival

Tall Paul and Chase Manhattan Rise Up


Navigating the best and worst reactions from Native and non-Native audiences alike, Tall-Paul and Chase Manhattan hold their ground, stay true, and rise up in their hometown and internationally.

Tall Paul and Chase Manhattan have been building buzz and their names in the hip-hop scene across Turtle Island. Recently they both kept it close to home and talked with their shared hometown paper Minneapolis Star Tribune about their path in music, the power of sharing their work, and the ups and downs of getting labeled "Indian" in the industry.

Both rappers cite advantages and disadvantages to being designated as Indian rappers. On the plus side, they naturally stand out from the crowd. But there’s also a certain lack of respect from more mainstream rap crowds, who see them as something of a novelty.

Said Paul, “It makes you unique, but you still have to be a good rapper first or they won’t take you seriously.”

They also have been shunned at times by other Indians, especially elder leaders who see rap music as a scurrilous artistic pursuit — a generational gap common to any hip-hop artist.

“I’ve had some elders say to me, ‘Why are you trying to act black?’ ” Chase said, shaking his head. “That’s them being racist.”

Neither wants to be pigeonholed as an Indian rapper, and both have more songs that don’t refer to their heritage than ones that do. They are as likely to take gigs in clubs — including small-town bars near rural Indian populations around Minnesota and Wisconsin and the Dakotas — as they are to play pow-wows or other traditional native events.

Still, they said, they will never again shy away from bringing out their native past in their music.

“I’ve gone on stage in front of 500 people and brought attention to the issues the native people face, and I think that’s a powerful, important thing,” said Chase.

Read the full story: Native tongues: Tall Paul and Chase Manhattan bring traditions to hip-hop

Native America North Takes New York


Three of our favourite Indigenous artists will be traveling from their Canadian homes to New York this weekend to perform a showcase at APAP 2013.

The Big Apple will have the pleasure of hearing Don Amero, Digging Roots and Elisapie at a showcase, Native America North, during the APAP 2013 conference. Between the three acts you'll get roots, folk, and pop interpretations of Anishinabe, Mohawk, Inuit, and Métis culture.

If you're in the city Saturday January 12, head to the National Museam of the American Indian from 2-5pm to take it all in - the event is free to the public!

For more info visit and get started with the latest video from Don Amero, Turn These Grey Skies Blue:

VIDEO: Q-Rock - "52 Hands"


Check out the latest Q Rock music video from Ready to Rock Crew/Mighty Zulu Kings.

The new video for Q Rock's track 52 Hands is a trip from the Bronx to Brooklyn which remembers the grafitti writers that once ruled the NYC subway lines.

The track 52 Hands is available on The Graffiti Mixtape Volume 3 - check it out here:

Watch Q-Rock - "52 Hands":

Directed by Dough Low Beats by Phantom Turntable by DJ Dough Low Rock BBoys: Floor Phantom & Nasty Yass © RTR MUSIC / CLUTCH FILMWORKS 2012

Video: Lisa Jackson's "Savage"


This five minute short film Savage, from award winning Anishinaabe filmmaker Lisa Jackson is a unique exploration of the first day of school for a young First Nations child set in the 1950's.

The film, featuring Ta'kaiya Blaney, Skeena Reece, Doug Blamey, and Jennifer Jackson, won a 2010 Genie award for Best Short Film, a Golden Sheaf Award for Best Multicultural Film, the ReelWorld Outstanding Canadian Short Film, and the Leo Awards for Best Actress and Best Editing.  Fond memories of high school musicals resurfaced during the film for this writer - in Grade 12, Eugene taught himself how to dance the lead from Michael Jackson's Thriller during his lunch hours in the black box, to then teach his classmates the dance which went on to open their end of term shows.

From Lisa Jackson's website:

On a summer day in the 1950s, a native girl watches the countryside go by from the backseat of a car. A woman at her kitchen table sings a lullaby in her Cree language. When the girl arrives at her destination, she undergoes a transformation that will turn the woman’s gentle voice into a howl of anger and pain.

In a place like this, there aren’t many chances to be a kid. But, when no one’s watching…

A residential school musical.

Light-hearted as the video is at times, it commands the use of humor, thoughtfulness, dance and music to make a statement on the reality of a First Nations legacy which we all live with today. This stunning video is polished and beautiful, and leaves room for the viewer to reflect on the lived reality of First Nations children taken to boarding schools, while remaining accessible for people from any community.

Watch Lisa Jackson's 'Savage' here:

New Indigenous Music Releases - April 2012


April blossomed with a bouquet of releases in the world of Indigenous music - here are eight to check out.

Forever C-Weed Band The legendary C-Weed Band released their 17th album this month and the lead single, Can This be Love, is already climbing the charts on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown.  Get it on iTunes.

The Philosophers Stoned Mixtape Ill Citizens Winnipeg's Ill Citizens have released their third mixtape - the first of two they'll put out this year - which features all original material with beats produced  by Walter "DJ Wawa" Lounsbury and Sebastation Gaskin. Download it from

I am Woman. Kwe Lena Recollet Anishnaabe poet, actress, vocalist and visual artist Lena Recollet has released her first full-length album featuring her mix of spoken word, soul-jazz, traditional native music and folk. Get it on iTunes.

Listen to Lena Recollet's Personal Power:

Indio 808: Global Mixtape Volume 2 DJ El Indio of World Hood This compilation features tracks by Rita Indiana, Sonora, Zuzuka Poderosa, Major Lazer, and many others. If you love to dance, download the mixtape from

Garfield Street (The Mixtape: Vol. 2) Young Jibwe The ever prolific producer, rapper and activist Young Jibwe of Dog Creek First Nation keeps it coming with his latest release. Get the free download here.

Beauty and Hard Times Mama D With a sound that draws from blues, folk, rock, gospel, country, Eastern European, and classical styles Mama D delves into hard times lyrically, but delivers it all in musical beauty. Get it on iTunes.

Red Makaveli Joey Styelz The first full-length rap/hip-hop release from Joey Stylez of Moosomin First Nation can be yours for free! Download it from

YK the Mayor Young Kidd Winnipeg-based emcee Young Kidd actually released this mixtape at the end of March, but we didn't get a chance to tell you about it then! The album includes 16 tracks with guest appearances from Keisha Booker, Shai, Quick Cash, Lotto, Terell Safadi, Fresh IE, and Critical. Download it from

Upright & Locked Position Don Ross The 14th solo recording from finger-style guitar heavyweight Don Ross is a melodic collection of new original songa and new recordings of some of his early compositions. He's an incredible player, be sure to take the time to listen and get the album from

Watch the title track from Don Ross, The Upright & Locked Positon:

Red Man Laughing Featuring Wab Kinew


In the most recent, brand spankin' new episode of Red Man Laughing, Ojibway comedian Ryan McMahon interviewed hip-hop artist and CBC journalist Wab Kinew.

Wab Kinew has been making waves in Indigenous music for a decade and more recently in the journalism scene on air and on camera at the CBC.

Our great friend Ryan McMahon had a chance to sit down with Wab for a candid, in-depth interview getting the story on Wab's beginnings in music, journalism and his involvement in the 8th Fire documentary series on CBC.

Shouts out to Ryan and Wab for their great storytelling and sharing in this podcast!

Listen now:

Red Man Laughing - EP#14 The Wab Kinew Interview

Hear the first 13 awesome episodes and download the NDN Comedy app at

Lorenzo Stays True to Himself Through Music


Here's an RPM audio interview with Anishinaabe musician Leonard Sumner, aka Lorenzo, and host Ostwelve.

Winnipeg's Leonard Sumner, aka Lorenzo, and his unique style of hip-hop and country music have gained a wide following and recognition in the last couple years.

In this candid interview Lorenzo speaks about his influences and inspirations, his future plans, and how to stay true to your music.

For more on Lorenzo, check out his Facebook page at

RPM Podcast #012: "Revitalization"


In Episode 12 of the podcast, RPM looks at the Indigenous language revitalization movement. Half of the world's languages have disappeared in the past 500 years and today another language goes extinct almost every two weeks. Indigenous languages are the ones most at risk - which has inspired Indigenous musicians to take up the struggle to save them.

Our host Ostwelve speaks with three artists who are working on revitalizing their ancestral languages.

Miss Christie Lee of the Musqueam Nation raps in Hun'qumi'num' and shares what her culture means to her and how she sought guidance from her elders on creating music in her language.

Tall Paul, of Point of Contact, raps in Anishnaabemowin.  Tall Paul describes discovering more of his culture through his college language course and using hip-hop to adapt Indigenous languages to new avenues.

Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, who sings in the language of Haida, hopes listeners can get to a different place, even if they don't understand the words, and she shares how by singing in our Indigenous language we are connecting with our ancestors.

DOWNLOAD: RPM Podcast #012 - "Revitalization" 


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For more on language revitalization, see:

The RPM podcast is produced & engineered by the amazing Paolo Pietropaolo.

Photo illustration created by the talented Joi Arcand.

DOWNLOAD: Lena Recollet - "Personal Power"


Anishnaabe poet, actress, vocalist and visual artist Lena Recollet, from Wikwemikong, Ontario, on Manitoulin Island, released her first EP this year - Soul Speaking. A poetry film of the track Historical Landmark premiered at the 2011 imagineNATIVE festival and Lena opened for Buffy Sainte Marie that same week. This is our favourite track from Lena, a spoken word piece about finding her own Personal Power. Be inspired. DOWNLOAD: Lena Recollet - "Personal Power"

STREAM: Chase Manhattan - "Put 'em Up"


Chase Manhattan is a hip-hop/rap artist based in Twin Cities, Minnesota, who music reflects his urban and Indigenous (Pine Ridge Oglala, Leech Lake Anishinaabe, and Muscogee Creek) roots. We first heard about him at RPM from our friend Ryan McMahon and Chase has since become one of our favourite artists. A NAMA and NAIIA nominee, Chase has been putting out consistently powerful and well-produced music since his 2008 debut album Red Skin in a Black and White World. This track is from his recent/4th album Alientated. STREAM: Chase Manhattan - "Put 'em Up"

Ryan McMahon aka Clarence Two Toes' New Comedy Album: Live in Red Lake


Our good friend Clarence Two Toes has released a new comedy album, Live in Red Lake, on a pay-what-you-want scale.

Anishinaabe comedian Ryan McMahon aka Clarence Two Toes has a new album out, available on Bandcamp, that can be purchased on a pay-what-you-want scale.  The album is a LIVE show that was recorded in Red Lake, Minnesota.

This is an internet-only release only available for a limited time, so get your copy soon and support Indigenous comedy!

Also check out Clarence Two Toes on our inaugural podcast: RPM Podcast #001: “West Coast – Vol. I”