Stream the Roots/Folk Rhythm of William Prince's New Single, "7"


Winnipeg-based singer/songwriter William Prince sent the Peguis First Nation graduating class of 2016 off with a nostalgia-inducing track embedded with the seven sacred teachings.

William Prince is storytelling singer/songwriter from Peguis First Nation who sidesteps clichés to provoke thought and facilitate discovery. His baritone vocals pay tribute to his late father and his genuine delivery acknowledges the hundreds of hours he’s spent on stage. Writing songs since the age of thirteen, he produced and played all the instruments on his father Ed Prince’s acclaimed gospel album …it’s Supper Time at the age of fifteen. The two went on to record two more albums, On Christmas Day and Won’t That Be A Morning!, for Arbor Records and Sunshine Records, respectively, in Winnipeg.

A recent alumni of the tri-annual Planet IndigenUS Music Festival, William Prince was named the 2014 Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year at the Indigenous Music Awards. His lead single “The Carny,” from his debut album Earthly Days, had been featured as Manitoba Music’s Download of the Week, and he has been featured in numerous showcases for Manitoba Music, Aboriginal Music Program, and the Winnipeg Folk Festival. Prince is also a veteran to the APTN Aboriginal Day Live stage and his performances still garner rotation on APTN’s Solstice Concert Series.

Prince gained nationwide attention writing music for a CMT reality show and later went on to write songs for Jason Kirkness’ debut album Life On The Road, which scored three top 20 singles on Canadian country radio. To this day, he is still an active member of the First Nations supergroup Indian City. Their albums Supernation and Colors have received international acclaim and numerous Indigenous Music Awards.

"7" is William Prince's first track release since Earthly Days dropped in December 2015. The song is a lovely reminder to graduating native youth to always carry your teachings with you as you make that great leap forward into the next phase of life.

LISTEN: William Prince - "7"

"Earthly Days"and "7" are available now on iTunes and GooglePlay  For more visit: Check out William Prince on Facebook:

Leonard Sumner Brings New Music to His 2016 Summer Tour


As the music and culture festival season commences, Anishinaabe hip-hop/roots artist Leonard Sumner will be making his way back and forth across the country on the first of his summer tour dates.

"I usually play some new songs, I've been adding some spoken word material to my sets every now and then. It's been getting a great response and more motivation for me to get back in the studio," says Sumner.

After recording some new demos back in January, he hopes to be back in the studio by the end of the year.

It's been awhile since Sumner's popular release, Rez Poetry, but fans can look forward to hearing his classic folksy beats. "It's still on the same path", he says. "It still fits outside the box."

Catch up on his new music this summer, as Leonard Sumner tours across Canada.

Leonard Sumner - Summer 2016 Tour Dates

July 6 - Pacific Rim Arts Fest - Hitacu, BC

July 8-10 - Mariposa Folk Festival - Orillia, ON

July 24-26 - Dawson City Music Fest - Dawson City, YK

July 28 - 2017 Canada Games Countdown - The Forks, Winnipeg, MB

August 12-14 - Interstellar Rodeo - Winnipeg, MB

August 19-21 - Summerfolk Music Fest - Owen Sound, ON

September 2-4 - Shelter Valley Folk Fest - Grafton, ON

Check for tour updates throughout the summer. He might pop-up in a city near you!

PREMIERE: Blue King Brown's "Born Free" - Album Stream


In an already incredible week for Indigenous music, Blue King Brown drops Born Free, a strong contender for album of the year. RPM is very excited to bring you an exclusive first listen.

Calling on all nations to 'rize up' and be counted, Blue King Brown's new album Born Free is an uplifting and powerful soundtrack to global struggles for freedom and unity.

Riding the wave of their massive lead singles, "Rize Up" and "All Nations", the anticipation for their new album has been building for almost a year. And by all counts, it's been worth the wait. Born Free is easily BKB's most accomplished album to date.

Production on the new album is handled by Styalz Fuego, Notis, Mista Savona, James ‘Bonzai’ Caruso, and Chris Macro, and was recorded at the legendary Tuff Gong studios in Kingston, Jamaica and studios in Melbourne, Australia. As lead singer Natalie Pa'apa'a (newly dubbed Natalli Rize) says: "After spending most of the year in studio mode and off the road, we are proud to be bringing our new the world, and returning to the stage with the full force live show".

BKB already has a reputation as one of Australia's premiere live acts, and the songs on Born Free demand to be heard on a huge sound system—performed live to a massive mob of freedom fighting warriors.

From chanting down the evils of Babylon on "Rize Up" and "Renegade", to calling for love, unity and change in the deep grooves of "Fyah", "Like A Lion", and "Babylon A Fall", Born Free sounds out hope and possibility at every turn.

Righteous without being preachy, optimistic without being naïve, Blue King Brown's unique mix of urban roots, dancehall, reggae and rock flows effortlessly through an album with no missing pieces and no weak links.

Powered by the clarion call of Natalli Rize's voice, Born Free is a wake up call to sleeping masses lost in a world of manipulation and continuous distraction. Like Rize says, on the album's closing track: "If you have a conscience / you should know just how to use it".

Blue King Brown is leading by example. Born Free is fire.

Stream Blue King Brown's "Born Free" 

Check out the video for their latest single "All Nations", filmed in the jungle and streets of Vanuatu and Melbourne, in solidarity and support for the West Papuan struggle for self-determination and freedom.


Download "Born Free" from and follow them on Twitter, Instagram, and SoundCloud.

STREAM: Blue King Brown - "All Nations"


Indigenous Australian urban roots crew Blue King Brown is back in a big way with their massive tune, "All Nations".

Lead vocalist Natalli Rize and her reggae and dubwise BKB comrades are set to release their powerful third album, Born Free, on November 7th and their latest single and video are already catching fire.

"All Nations" is an uplifting anthemic call out to all people worldwide to reclaim our freedom and to make what BKB calls "music for this movement, for the battle and the fight for People over profits, Justice over Greed, Freedom over Slavery".

"'All Nations' at its core is about people power", says Rize, "Calling out to All People from All Nations to recognize their power and reclaim it, use it, assert it in these times of shifting consciousness, a time of discontent with the current world system and paradigm". To this end, the band dedicated and premiered the song in support of the self-determination movement to Free West Papua.

BKB have built a huge audience for their socially conscious and politically engaged music in support of Indigenous rights and global struggles for liberation. And they've stepped up every aspect of their production and songwriting this time around: Born Free was recorded at the legendary Tuff Gong studios in Kingston, Jamaica, Sing Sing Studios in Melbourne, and Blue King Brown's own studio in Melbourne, Australia.

Capturing the sound of the struggle and the essence of what art and activism can do to inspire change, "All Nations" will have you waving the flag of freedom and singing along with a raised fist.

Stream: Blue King Brown - "All Nations" 

And check the video for this epic tune below:

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

DOWNLOAD: Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 2


We are pleased to present Idle No More: Songs for Life Volume 2. As with Volume 1, the highlights are many!

Idle No More is just about 2 months old. It’s hard to know for sure how many strong in number the movement is now, but one thing is for certain - the message has circled the globe, crossed oceans, and reached people from all walks of life. Musicians are among those from the artistic community who have been vocal in their support. Some have written songs. Some have spoken out at shows. And some have graciously allowed us to share their music with you here.

The collection kicks off with the call to arms Red Action by power duo Indian Handcrafts, who will soon traverse our fair land as the opening act for Billy Talent. Blue Rodeo, who made national headlines for their shout out to Idle No More, offer the song Fools Like You, from the 1992 platinum selling Lost Together. Rising stars Nick Sherman and Tracy Bone are here, as are indie darlings Royal Wood and Hannah Georgas. The timeless power pop of Vancouver’s Odds. Reggae and R&B from New Zealand courtesy NRG Rising. And the poignant cello piece Theresa, by Anishinaabe musician, researcher, and media artist Melody McKiver. Plus much more - 17 tracks in all! We hope you enjoy it!

Some are asking, what IS the message of Idle No More? Read on below the set for words from the founders.

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. RPM is thrilled to collaborate on it!

And now -

DOWNLOAD: Idle No More: Songs for Life Vol. 2

‘We contend that: The Treaties are nation to nation agreements between The Crown and First Nations who are sovereign nations. The Treaties are agreements that cannot be altered or broken by one side of the two Nations. The spirit and intent of the Treaty agreements meant that First Nations peoples would share the land, but retain their inherent rights to lands and resources. Instead, First Nations have experienced a history of colonization which has resulted in outstanding land claims, lack of resources and unequal funding for services such as education and housing.

We contend that: The state of Canada has become one of the wealthiest countries in the world by using the land and resources. Canadian mining, logging, oil and fishing companies are the most powerful in the world due to land and resources. Some of the poorest First Nations communities  have mines or other developments on their land but do not get a share of the profit. The taking of resources has left many lands and waters poisoned – the animals and plants are dying in many areas in Canada. We cannot live without the land and water. We have laws older than this colonial government about how to live with the land.

We contend that: Currently, this government is trying to pass many laws so that reserve lands can also be bought and sold by big companies to get profit from resources. They are promising to share this time…Why would these promises be different from past promises? We will be left with nothing but poisoned water, land and air. This is an attempt to take away sovereignty and the inherent right to land and resources from First Nations peoples. We contend that: There are many examples of other countries moving towards sustainability, and we must demand sustainable development as well. We believe in healthy, just, equitable and sustainable communities and have a vision and plan of how to build them. Please join us in creating this vision.’

Jessica Gordon, What is Idle No More?


Don't forget you can also grab the first volume of songs for life here: DOWNLOAD: Idle No More - Songs For Life - Vol. 1


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

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: Arthur Renwick - "Do the Bukowski"


Arthur Renwick, of the Haisla First Nation in Kitimat, BC, is a photo-based artist, independent curator, professor, AND musician. His new album, The Cigarbox Chronicles, is killer and we've got a download of our current favourite track for you.

These days Arthur lives and works in Toronto, dedicating most of his time to his work in music. He sent us a couple tracks from the Ken Whitely produced The Cigarbox Chronicles to check out and it was hard to choose one to feature - but this waltz has grit, wit, beauty and charm and showcases Arthur's songwriting, voice and guitar chops so perfectly we couldn't resist sharing it. It drifts down a dark alley, over a woman's shoulder, past a bottle of whisky, into your ear and right to your bones where it will stay until you raise a glass or sing along, or both. Enjoy.

DOWNLOAD: "Do the Bukowski" - Arthur Renwick

Video: Caley Watts Band - "The Wolf Song"


The Caley Watts Band's The Wolf Song begins as a slow howl before picking up into a quick trot and bringing us down some west coast trails, heads nodding to the rhythm.

I imagine game trails, hunting and rabbits. Images of wolf cubs come to my mind, and then young pups testing their strength against the others'. If The Caley Watts Band from Bella Coola drew inspiration for this song from the wild, it's worked to bring the author back into the woods in his imagination.

Bella Coola is the traditional territory of the Nuxalk Nation, who have been there for an estimated 10,000 years, if not longer. There is a rich culture of storytelling there. In traditional narratives told by Aboriginal peoples of the Pacific Coast, supernatural beings were known to take the form of animals, birds or fish in the human world. In their own villages, these beings lived among the people as humans. Many stories tell of the encounters between humans and animal or supernatural beings, sometimes even with traditional masks and dance that were preserved through the times, even though potlatching and masks were at one time not allowed.

Is Caley Watts really a wolf being, singing the songs of her ancestors?

Watch: The Caley Watts Band - "The Wolf Song":

DOWNLOAD: Michael Bucher - "Don't Forget About Me"


Cherokee artist Michael Bucher comes from the strong tradition of making folk roots music as a means for a message. Michael's work speaks to defending Sacred Sites, combating the high rates of Native teen suicide and sharing Cherokee legends. His passion for these issues imbues his music with an urgency and heartfelt emotion that is inescapable to the listener. A back-to-back Nammy winner, Michael blends his vocals with a mix of contemporary folk, blues and rock with the traditional sounds of drum and flute. The balance is beautiful. And so is this track. DOWNLOAD: Michael Bucher - "Don't Forget About Me"

VIDEO: Sac Storytellers - "Top Secret"


Sac Storytellers serve up roots, reggae and ska, Indigenous style.

Rachel Fowler AKA Rachelonia (Yaqui/Apache) grew up in South Sacramento, CA, and has been gigging and playing in bands for eight years. She was a member of the bluegrass band Nevada Backwards and the electronic group Jeffrey Valentine Extravaganza before becoming the lead singer of this Sacramento based reggae ska band - Sac Storytellers. Clearly a versatile artist, her rich alto voice shines in this genre. Enjoy this performance of their Top Secret, captured at a recent gig at DigitalisStudios, and keep an eye out for more on this band from RPM soon.

DOWNLOAD: Andrea Menard - "Evergreen"


You may know Métis artist Andrea Menard as an actor, writer or singer. Indeed she is all three, finding critical success on each path, including a Western Canadian Music Award, three Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and an Indian Summer Music Award. As a singer, Andrea is part crooner, part balladeer. She performs both jazz and roots/folk and sent us this track from the latter repertoire. From the album Sparkle, Evergreen, with rich harmonies and lush instrumentation, typifies her beautiful, narrative songwriting and her sweet crystal clear voice. Enjoy. DOWNLOAD: Andrea Menard - "Evergreen"