2016 JUNO Awards now accepting submissions for Aboriginal Album of the Year


Submissions to the 2016 JUNO Awards are now open! The Aboriginal Album of the Year award celebrates the best music from Indigenous artists in Canada. Get in there!

The Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS) announced on October 1 that the JUNO Awards is now accepting submissions for Aboriginal Album of the Year (sponsored by Aboriginal Peoples Television Network).

The category is open to albums released by Canadian citizens between September 1, 2014 and November 13, 2015. With respect to album length, a project that is 20 minutes or six unique songs is now considered a full album and is eligible for the Aboriginal Album of the Year category. The early bird submission deadline is 5:00 p.m. EST on October 23, 2015. The final submission deadline is 5:00 p.m. EST on November 13, 2015.

From our friends at ammb.ca:

"Winning the Aboriginal Album of the Year at the JUNOS was a long standing dream of mine," says 2015 category winner Tanya Tagaq. "Being nominated among my peers gives a sense of warmth, celebration, and team work that is rarely found in a competition based system. Support our communities by submitting yourself or a friend. Our music is crucial."

Eligible music styles include all traditional Aboriginal music: Iroquois, Social Pow Wow Drum (I.e. Sioux, Assiniboine, Cree, Ojibway & Blackfoot, etc.); all Hand Drums (e.g. Inuit, Dene, Cree, Mic Mak, West Coast, etc.); Inuit Throat Singing; Traditional Flutes; Metis, Cree & Mic Mac Fiddling. In addition, fusions of all genres of contemporary music that incorporate the above and/or reflect the unique Aboriginal experience in Canada, by virtue of words or music.

Visit junoawards.ca/submissions for details and to complete your online submission.

Nominees will be announced on February 2, 2016 at the JUNO Nominee Press Conference, the 2016 festivities will be hosted in Calgary with JUNO Week running from March 28 to April 3, and the awards will be broadcast on CTV from The Scotiabank Saddledome on Sunday, April 3, 2016. See you there!

DOWNLOAD: Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1


Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1 is the first of an ongoing series of free downloadable compilations of songs by artists who support the vision of Idle No More, Indigenous and allies. Volume 1 features a broad and diverse array of artists - everyone from Derek Miller (whose contribution, 7 Lifetimes, is a brand new track inspired by Chief Theresa Spence), to John K. Samson of the Weakerthans.

Bluesey-roots from Digging Roots. The indie stylings of Whitehorse. A funky hip hop jam from Plex with Wab Kinew and Sarah Podemski. It’s a feast for the ears. A celebration. And we’re only just getting started. If ever we’ve been idle - whether in our thoughts or our actions - we are now Idle No More.

This exciting collection - and the additional volumes that will follow soon (there's that many artists and voices!) - was conceived by Marty Ballentyne, Holly McNarland, Kevin Joseph and RPM's Ron "Ostwelve" Harris.

Listen to and download the tracks now, and read on below.

Idle No More: Songs for Live Volume 1

From co-creator of Idle No More: Songs for Live Vol. 1 Marty Ballentyne

Music is transcendent. Somewhere in between the melody, the rhythm, the words, the instruments and the people playing them, it all adds up to something more than the sum of its parts. It’s magic! Music soothes frayed nerves. It makes you dance. It says things you just can’t put into words. Songs make you think, make you feel, bring you up, bring you down, bring you around. For some music is loud and groovy on a Friday night; for some, it’s quiet and calming on a Sunday morning. Music brings us all together. We have it in common, along with the air, the water, the earth beneath our feet, and the sky above.

Idle No More began in November as a grassroots effort by four women to educate people about Bill C 45, tabled by the federal government.  The news media and commentators such as Rick Mercer had given the bill cursory attention when the bill was introduced in Parliament in mid October. Hidden inside the 440 page bill are changes that will affect all Canadians, now and in the future. Most Canadian waterways, protected since the days of John A. Macdonald, are protected no longer. Amendments have been made to The Indian Act without consulting First Nations. A series of teach ins by Sylvia McAdam, Nina Wilson, Jessica Gordon and Sheelah McLean first brought awareness, then concern, then action. People started talking. Social media networks were lit up by the sharing of information. And virtually overnight, the national conversation shifted considerably. Little over a month after the first rallies and flash mob round dances took place across Canada, Idle No More has become an international movement.

At the heart of Idle No More is a desire to foster dialogue. People are talking, and about many things - not only Bill C 45, but also the relationship between Canada and its First Peoples, protection of the environment, the economy, and the Third World conditions of some of our communities. People are also talking about how they can contribute. It was in this spirit of pitching in that musicians Holly McNarland, Kevin Joseph, Ron Harris (Ostwelve), and Marty Ballentyne came together to work on gathering tracks from artists in support of Idle No More, to be released as a series of free downloadable collections of songs. This is the first.

Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 1 is the first of an ongoing series of free downloadable compilations of songs by artists who support the vision of Idle No More. Over the past few weeks we’ve been contacting people from across Canada and around the world, and the response has been fantastic. It’s a feast for the ears. A celebration. And we’re only just getting started. If ever we’ve been idle - whether in our thoughts or our actions - we are now Idle No More.

Words of support from artists on Volume 1:

Jenn Grant: "Perhaps music can help spread awareness and support our precious earth, and to our leaders who are fighting this cause. Let us grow together and show our cause and concern. Canadians need to shout and sing and sometimes starve - let us be heard. "

Holly McNarland: My focus is to speak to music fans and to hopefully sway some of the opinions and myths about First Nations people, and shine some light on how the Harper Government is selling us out via our water, land and resources. Bill C-45 needs to go.

Whitehorse: We believe that conditions in many First Nations' communities are deplorable and would not be tolerated in neighbourhoods in Toronto or Calgary (for example) and as such there is a deep double standard at play in Canada. We support Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence and urge Prime Minister Stephen Harper to meet with her. Also, the shredding of environmental regulations and the defunding of environmental and science organizations at the very time when there is a push by Harper to build a pipeline through environmentally vulnerable lands and waters is cause for great concern to all Canadians.

DOWNLOAD: Quillbox - "The Apology"


Quillbox is the new project from Ojibwe/Finnish artist Marc Meriläinen and The Apology in the first, brand spankin' new single. Get it here.

Also the creator of NADJIWAN, Marc continues to explore genres and technology with his exciting new electronic project Quillbox. The first single is this week's #RPMdownload - The Apology, which features samples of Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper's infamous "apology" speech to Aboriginal people for the residential school system. It's a thought provoking mix of words, sounds, effects and emotion - what are your thoughts? Download the track now and leave your comments below.

 DOWNLOAD: "The Apology" - Quillbox

Don Amero Hits the Road with New Album


On the heels of an APCMA nomination for Best Pop CD, Métis singer-songwriter Don Amero is set to release a new album - Heart On My Sleeve - and launch a Canadian tour to support it.

The title reflects a new direction for Amero in eleven original songs, and two bonus tracks,  that he produced himself in his own Winnipeg studio. Amero Nation Talk in Don Amero's Heart is "On His Sleeve" with New CD:

“I feel like this album is quite a bit different from my previous releases, and in some ways, a brand new start for me,” explains Amero, one of Canada’s rising musical stars. “While I’ve worked with some amazing producers in the past, I just felt it was time to put more of my voice into the recording.”

So Amero went back to where it all began for him six years ago, when he self-produced his debut album. He spent the past several months in his own recording studio tucked away in the back of his community church, working diligently to complete the songs featured on Heart On My Sleeve.

“My thought has always been that as an artist, you need to evolve and grow. With this recording, I’m very happy with where I’ve come from and where I’m going,” he says. “When I listen to the songs, I feel like I’m being more honest than I’ve ever been before, hence the name Heart On My Sleeve.”

The Best Pop CD nod isn't the only APCMA Amero is up for - he also garnered nomination for Male Entertainer of the Year and Best Single. One of the most hard-working musicians in Indian Country, his star is sure to continue rising with Heart On My Sleeve.

Catch Don Amero at one of the Heart on My Sleeve Canadian tour dates:

Thursday September 13th – Toronto ON The Sister @ 9:30pm 1554 Queen Street $10 at the door

Sunday September 16th – Acton ON The Roxy Theatre @ 7:30pm 6 Mill Sreet East $10 at the door

Thursday September 20th – Halifax The Music Room @ 7:30pm 6181 Lady Hammond Road $15 advance / $20 door

Saturday September 22nd – PEI Old Belle River @ 8:00pm 1828 Trans-Canada Highway Tickets TBC

Monday September 24th – Wolfville NS Al Whittle Theatre @ 7:30pm 450 Main Street $10 advance/ $15 door

Wednesday October 10th – Whitehorse YK Old Fire Hall @ 7:30pm 1105 First Avenue $15 advance/ $20 door

Friday October 19th – Brandon MB Lorne Watson Hall @ 8:00pm U of B Music Suite $15 advance/ $20 door

Wednesday October 24th – Winnipeg MB Special concert – details to be announced

Follow facebook.com/donameromusic and twitter.com/donaldamero to keep up to date on the latest news from Don Amero.

National Aboriginal Day Celebrations 2012


National Aboriginal Day in Canada means a lot of live Indigenous music and parties will be taking place across the country. Here are RPM's pick for music to check out this Abo day.

National Aboriginal Day is June 21st in Canada, but you'll find celebrations happening all month long. Here are our picks for live Indigenous music to see, but there will also be gatherings, powwows, parades, and more happening across the country, so check out what events are happening in your community!

June 21st

The feature performance at the day long festival at the Squamish Lil'Wat Culture Centre in Whistler, BC, is roots infused traditional group Kalan Wi. Info: slcc.ca/explore/events-and-workshops.

Red Power Squad, Wab Kinew and A Tribe Called Red's Electric Powwow will rock Sir Winston Churchill Square in Edmonton, AB. Info: theworks.ab.ca.

In the Centennial Plaza from 4pm-9pm, Edmonton, AB, performances will include Will Belcourt, Shawn Benard and Nathan Cunningham. Co-presented by creatinghopesociety.ca.

Brandy McCallum and Norine Braun are among the performers at the Vancouver, BC, celebration that takes place at Trout Lake. Info: bcnationalaboriginalday.com.

Don Amero, Whispering Loons Drum Group, and more will be at the Dauphin Friendship Centre in Flin Flon, MB. More info: aboriginalmusic.ca.

See Crystal Shawanda at the Red River Ex in Winnipeg, MB. Info: qx104fm.com/Concerts.

June 21st-24th

The Summer Solstice Aboriginal Arts Festival in Ottawa, ON, is going to be thumping with a powwow - host drum Bear Creek - and main stage performances by Amanda Rheaume, Donny Parenteau, Crystal Shawanda, Leanne Goose and Vince Fontaine’s Indian City. Info: nadottawa.wordpress.com.

June 23rd

Asani will headline the festivities at the Alberta Legislature grounds in Edmonton, AB. Info: sunandmoongallery.com.

APTN's Aboriginal Day Live will be taking place in both Winnipeg, MB, and Regina, SK, as well as broadcast live on ATPN, with Kashtin, Indian City, Christa Couture, Inez, Joey Stylez Buffy Sainte Marie, The Local Onlyz, Samian, Plex and even more. Info: aboriginaldaylive.com.

From last year's Aboriginal Day Live celebration, here's Winnipeg's Most:

Winnipeg's Most Kicks Off Cross-Canada Tour


The award-winning and hugely popular rap group Winnipeg's Most starts their first Western Canadian tour this month and have released a promotional video to tell us all about it.

Next week Winnipeg's Most,  along with DJ Dow Jones, will start their tour from their hometown of Winnipeg and head west from there. The boys have already sold out shows and will continue to add dates to the tour so keep an eye out if your town isn't on the itinerary yet, and let them know you want them to come to you!

Official tour dates and cities:

March 23rd - Winnipeg MB - Venue: Maquee - 18+ March 24th - Regina SK - 306 Hip Hop Skate Shop (All Ages) March 25th -Prince Albert SK - Union Events (All Ages) March 26th - Saskatoon SK - Odeon Events Centre (All Ages) March 27th - Calgary AB - Dickens Pub 18+ March 28th - Edmonton AB - Empire ballroom 18+ March 30 - Williams Lake BC - Diamonds & Dust 19+ March 31st - Prince George BC - Ramada Hotel (All Ages) March 31st - Prince George BC - Ramada Hotel (All Ages) April 1st - Dawson Creek BC - George Dawson Inn April 4th - Surrey BC - Ephin Store CD signing - - (All Ages) April 4th - Chilliwack BC - Echo Room 19+ April 5th - Langley BC - Troubadour NightClub 19+ April 6th - Nanaimo BC - The Queens NightClub 19+ April 7th - Nanaimo BC - Vancouver Event Centre (All Ages) April 8th - Campbell River BC - The Paramount 19+ More dates TBA

To celebrate and announce the tour, Winnipeg's Most  released this video - check it out:

2012 Juno Awards and Aboriginal Nominees


Canada's annual celebration of artistic and technical achievements in music, the JUNOS, announced the 2012 nominees yesterday. Here are the Indigenous artists in the running!

The "Canadian Grammys" - chosen by members of the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences or determined by sales or a panel of experts - cover 44 "best of" categories. This year, the celebration will be hosted by William Shatner at the Scotiabank Place in Ottawa, Ontario.

The most notable Aboriginal presence at the JUNOs is the Aboriginal Album of the Year award - the existence of which is at times contentious in the community as, unlike the other award categories, it is not genre specific. It does however acknowledge and celebrate music made by Aboriginal artists, in any genre, and we're sending heartfelt congratulations to those nominated this year!

That said, Métis country star Terri Clarke is nominated in the Country Album of the Year category - congrats Terri!

Here are the nominees for Aboriginal Album of the Year, 2012:

Bruthers of Different Muthers Speakers of Tomorrow

Donny Parenteau To Whom It May Concern

Flying Down Thunder and Rise Ashen One Nation

Murray Porter Songs Lived & Life Played

Randy Wood The Gift of Life