STREAM: Leela Gilday - "Heart of the People"


Dene singer-songwriter Leela Gilday returns with her fourth studio album, Heart of the People, that celebrates her homeland, her nation, and her love of the land.

Leela Gilday's music has always been a passionate mix of soaring vocals, beautiful melodies, and the effortless interweaving of sounds and stories rooted in her Dene culture—and her latest album is no exception.

As the Northern Journal so eloquently described:

Heart of the People, combines powerful lyrics that create stunning imagery, layered over carefully coordinated melodies for songs that are raw, emotional and absolutely empowering.

Her incorporation of traditional elements like the pounding beat of Dene drums, the breathy, guttural sounds of throat singing, lyrics belted out in local languages and dancing fiddles helps create one of the musician’s best albums thus far. “I really feel this CD is my best, my best songwriting,” Gilday said in an interview with The Journal. “As you mature as an artist… I’ve been trying to fulfill my potential and I feel like this is starting to fulfill my potential.”

Listening to the album is like sitting in a circle, hearing multiple voices share tales of life in the North.

We couldn't agree more.

Gilday describes the title track from the album as "an anthem to the heartbeat of the earth [and] our connection to the land". Co-written by Jason Burnstick, with Maori lyrics by Ora Barlow, stream "Heart of the People" below and immerse yourself in the swirling sonics of the northern lights greeting the sunny shores of Aotearoa.

Heart of the People was officially released on October 14th and is available at Gilday will launch the album in Toronto at a concert featuring Cris Derksen on October 28, 2014.

STREAM: Leela Gilday - "Heart of the People"

Watch Leela Gilday perform "Heart of the People" with her band and Dene drummers in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories, Canada, at the Northern Art Cultural Centre in September 2014.

Maisey Rika Wins Best Maori Album


At last week's New Zealand Music Awards, Maisey Rika took home "Best Maori Album" for "Whitiora" - congrats Maisey! - and we were stoked to check out all the nominees in the category.

The category celebrates Aotearoa (New Zealand) artists and music that express and reflect Maori culture. Eligible albums for the category don't have to be in Te Reo, but all three nominated albums this year were, which is rad!

Winner Maisey Rika is a soul/acoustic vocalist who has recorded in both English and Te Reo, and her fellow nominated artists were jazz/funk artist Kirsten Te Rito and blues/ jazz/soul singer Ngatapa Black.

Take in the sweet sounds of Rika, Te Rito and Black here:

The 10 Best Indigenous Musical Moments of 2012


‘Tis the season for looking back on the year that was: reflecting on the highs and lows, and seeing what music moments stand out in our memories. It's an interesting time for reflection, with all the hope and passion currently rising among our people, so let's take a moment to reflect on the incredible Indigenous music that found its way to us in 2012.

From new albums, EPs, and videos to standout performances and collaborations from all corners of Turtle Island and beyond, here are our Top 10 picks for the Best Indigenous Musical Moments of 2012—the songs we've been raving about and playing on repeat this past year and the sounds that stood out in our hearts, minds and ears.

10. Bear Fox x The 1491s, "Rich Girl"

It all starts with watching NAMMY award-winning musician Bear Fox, in collaboration with Bobby from Native comedy crew The 1491s, perform her song Rich Girl. The song touches on the issues of growing up in an Indigenous environment with very little in material wealth but having riches in culture and in the beauty of Indigenous life with family. Nothing like live and unplugged for some of the best musical moments:

9. NRG Rising, "From Darkness to Light"

"From darkness to light" is an apt description at this time of year as the hours of sunlight finally begin to get longer in the Northern hemisphere, and as our people rise up and unite. It's also the name of our next pick from NRG Rising, the New Zealand reggae band that features three powerful Maori women - a mother and two daughters - who create conscious, soulful work. We love this track.

Watch NRG RisingFrom Darkness to Light:

8. The Medics, "Foundations"

The Medics' Foundations was the much anticipated debut LP from one of Australia's brightest new bands. And it rocked. Percussive, passionate, potent. Turn it up and let it ride.

Listen to the opening track Beggars:

7. Skookum Sound System, "Nawala"

As individuals, vocalist/song carrier Csetkwe, DJ/producers Deano (Dean Hunt) and Impossible Nothing (Darwin Frost), and video artist Amphibian14 (Bracken Hanuse Corlett), have been honing their skills for years. But just over a year ago, these four artists joined forces to form the dynamic audio/visual collective Skookum Sound System. And the result is killer. The collective itself is one of our favourite "moments" of the year, but here's one particularly bumping beat for you to get into:

6. Thelma Plum, "Untitled"

It's been a breakout year for this 17-year-old Indigenous singer-songwriter from Brisbane, Australia. Thelma Plum's voice and writing exceed her years with a timeless quality that can transport you to another time and place. With only a few tracks available online, we're all waiting for more, but it's easy to revel in what she's already shared with the world thus far. We love this live, unplugged performance of Untitled:

5. Nick Sherman, Drag Your Words Through

In the rip your heart out in a good way category, the debut album from Nick Sherman, Drag Your Words Through, is rooted in folk/rock and full of earnest yet thoughtful and well crafted songs. They stick to your bones and Sherman's rich, textured vocals is a fine sound indeed. We've been spinning it all year long. Listen to the track Winterdark here:

4. Samantha Crain, "It's Simple"

Miss Samantha Crain started the year off great with the release her 7" single A Simple Jungle and no one's forgotten the two catchy tunes it was comprised of. Her indie spun americana vibe shines in the tracks It's Simple and Cadwell Jungle. It's been enough to keep us going all year and we're ready for her new album to drop in a couple weeks!

Watch the video for It's Simple:

3. Cris Derksen, "Pow Wow Wow"

There was no shortage of killer music videos on our screens this year. Cris Derksen (who we also tagged as an Indigenous Musicians to watch in 2012) has one of our favourites. As part of APTN's First Tracks program and with acclaimed Indigenous director Lisa Jackson at the helm, Derksen released this intergalactic, fancy dance-filled three-and-a-half minutes of pure gold:

2. A Tribe Called Red, S/T

Loved as much across Indian Country as nightclub dancefloors, the increasingly popular purveyors of "pow wow step" navigated the diverse musical landscapes of hip-hop, dancehall, moombahton and electronic styles on their eponymous debut full-length album and, having posted the entire record as a free download on their site, it spread like wildfire. As a collective, it's been an outstanding year for ATCR - we weren't kidding when we also included them in Indigenous Musicians to watch in 2012. And it's safe to say we can expect more big things from DJ NDN, Bear Witness and DJ Shub in 2013. They're just getting started.

If you don't have it already, you can still grab their debut album here:


1. The Round Dance Revolution: Idle No More

Of course, in the so-obvious-do-we-really-need-to-even-mention-it category, we couldn't possibly round up the best moments in Indigenous music in 2012 without mentioning the #RoundDanceRevolution that is currently underway across the globe under the banner of #IdleNoMore. Unless you've been living in a different universe in the past month, by now you've likely heard our peoples' words, songs, drums and dances echoing out from highways, railway lines, government buildings, and your local shopping centre to virtually every corner the Internet. And on the evening before the winter solstice, before one of the largest Indigenous mobilizations in recent history, Ryan McMahon eloquently brought together much of what was already racing through the malls and minds of our people across Indian Country: the revolution was starting—and this was its soundtrack.

As the round dances, stick and bone games, and other gatherings and song circles spread across the globe over the holidays, it's no wonder that Naomi Klein said: "The #idlenomore round dances taking over shopping malls during xmas rush r the most subversion actions I've ever seen #rounddancerevolution." But the spirit of the movement is not just subversive, it is joyful and creative—so it makes sense that, as we head into the new adventures of 2013, we look back on something that offers us an important and inspiring foundation from which to step into new beginnings.

Read Ryan McMahon's full post here: The Round Dance Revolution: Idle No More

And here's video of an #IdleNoMore New Year's Eve Round Dance in Winnipeg—taking over the main intersection of Portage and Main:

What a year! We can't wait to see what 2013 brings. See you at the round dance!

VIDEO: Maisey Rika - "Tangaroa Whakamautai"


Maori Soul Singer Songwriter Maisey Rika recently released a video for her song Tangaroa Whakamauti, written and performed in her traditional language.

Tangaroa Whakamauti is a beautiful song that roughly translates into a ballad for the Maori god of the sea, Tangaroa. Sung in her traditional language, this song from the Aotearoa native is a powerful tribute to her culture's history, language, and presence in contemporary music.

Rika's award-winning stage presence and songwriting speaks for itself; this manifestation of a cultural revitalization is awe-inspiring and gorgeous on the eyes. Read the lyrics and the translation, done by Rika herself. Directed by Shae Sterling.


DOWNLOAD: Indigie Femme - "Am I Ready"


We're showcasing a gem from the Navajo and Aotearoa Maori Country Rock duo Indigie Femme by giving you their track called Am I Ready.

Based out of Santa Fe, New Mexico, Tash Terry and Elena Higgins have been making music since November of 2006. Indigie Femme, the child of collaboration between the two singer-songwriters, released the song Am I Ready on the album Indian Souvenir in 2010. That year saw many miles for the musical duo who toured both the West Coast of North America as well as much of Australia.

The tour payed off when in 2011 the duo received several awards for their music, including a Native American Music Award (NAMMY), double New Mexican Music Awards (NAMA) and becoming Sacramento Community of Color Diversity honorees.

The band is coming off of a few months of performances, but if you're in the area of Santa Fe in the month of August be sure to catch them at Cowgirl Santa Fe on Saturday, August 18th from 2-5pm, and tweet about it!

DOWNLOAD: Indigie Femme - "Am I Ready"

VIDEO: NRG Rising - "From Darkness to Light"


NRG Rising, the New Zealand reggae band that features three powerful Maori women, performed at The Gathering of Nations over the weekend. For anyone not at Stage 49 of that legendary powwow, you can still groove with NRG via their brand new music video.

NRG Rising is Benita Tahuri, her two daughters, Anahera-Pono Tahuri-Whakatope and Honey Tahuri-Whakatope, Bevin Hira and Trinity Blake. Their music is conscious, soulful, Indigenous.

Watch NRG Rising - "From Darkness to Light":

VIDEO: The Trio Gang - "Rolling in the Deep"


The Trio Gang are three young Maori women -  Ngakiri Kershaw, Renee Rangikataua and Mere Arihi Pipitakoko - who recently began uploading their renditions of cover songs to Facebook and YouTube. The three part harmonies, with just the accompaniment of one acoustic guitar, are striking and charming. I'm reminded that it doesn't take much for artists to shine.

Without the aid of autotune, tracking or editing, The Trio Gang give fantastic performances straight to their computer cameras - so far all beautifully original interpretations of familiar pop songs. In the one month since they posted it, their cover of Rolling in the Deep has racked up over 7,000 views. I came across it after two other artists shared videos by The Trio Gang on FaceBook. It's incredible how quickly a new musical discovery will travel on social media!

I'm certain the word will continue to spread like wild fire and we'll be seeing more to come from this corner of Lower Hutt, New Zealand. Follow The Trio Gang on FaceBook and YouTube to keep up with their latest work.

Watch: The Trio Gang - Rolling in the Deep:

RPM YouTube Playlist: New Traditional


As a side plate to our New Traditional podcast, here's a YouTube playlist of some incredible Indigenous videos on YouTube.

Robbie Robertson and Ulali - Mahk Jchi (LIVE) Russell Wallace - Gathering Song - Tzo'kam A Tribe Called Red - Red Skin Girl Moana & The Tribe David R. Maracle - Pollution 9 Year Old Rocks Hand Drum (Aaron Potts Letendre at Alexis First Nation) Traditional Expression - Jasmine Anderson and Joanne Soldier

Be sure to visit our YouTube Channel.


Got a video you'd like to see on our channel or in our playlists? Send us a link to: