Retrospective cabaret celebrates the music and wit of award-winning storyteller Tomson Highway


Songs in the Key of Cree will showcase the musical achievements and unique wit of the multi-talented Cree playwright, author, storyteller and musician Tomson Highway.

A master pianist, composer and songwriter with a repertoire spanning three decades, Tomson Highway’s music takes inspiration from a wide range of styles, including country, Brazilian samba, jazz and French Canadian folk songs with influences of Cole Porter and Kurt Weill. In addition to his Order of Canada, the JUNO-nominated performer was named one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history by Maclean’s magazine.

And that's just a sampling of the accolades and experience Highway has collected in his life and work so far, while he has criss-crossed the world conducting lectures, readings and musical performances. It's no wonder the SPEAKeasy Collective has produced a night to celebrate him. Songs in the Key of Cree, a one-time musical tribute to Highway, will take the stage for two nights at Hugh's Room in Toronto, Ontario. The retrospective will include performances by Highway with musical director and pianist John Alcorn, saxophonist Marcus Ali, and performers Micah Barnes, Laura Hubert, Teresa Castonguay, Jani Lauzon and Patricia Cano.

Dates: Saturday, December 12 & Sunday, December 13th Show time: 8:30 PM Tickets: $22.50 Advance - $25.00 Door / 416.531.6604

We'll be there!


RPM co-presents Indigenous showcase series at Gardiner Museum with Sean Conway, Amanda Rheaume, Logan Staats, and Christa Couture


This month we are co-presenting two hot nights of Indigenous music at Toronto's Gardiner Museum! 

The concerts are part of the programming around the current Kent Monkman exhibit and we're thrilled to be part of the mix.

Kent Monkman’s site specific installation at the Gardiner Museum in Toronto, Ontario, entitled The Rise and Fall of Civilization includes a nine-foot cliff structure, taxidermied bison, a statue of Monkman’s two-spirited, trickster alter ego, Miss Chief, and artistically it sits in direct contention with Picasso, primitivism, and modernism.

It's fantastic.

And in conjunction with this presentation, the Gardiner has a series of related programming including these two nights of Indigenous music that we were stoked to curate.

Friday November 7th, you'll see Irish-Ojibwe outlaw-country singer-songwriter Sean Conway and Métis folk/roots singer-songwriter Amanda Rheaume. Both artists will have their bands in tow and RPM's own Jarrett Martineau will host the night.

Friday November 13th, join us for intimate, solo performances by Six Nations bluesy, passionate artist Logan Staats and Cree folk/roots singer-songwriter Christa Couture.  

These concerts are free with half price admission into the Gardiner and start at 7pm both nights! Come early to explore Kent's work and the rest of what the museum has to offer. See you there, Toronto!

November 7th - details on, Facebook event November 13th - details on, Facebook event

Kent Monkman Programming postcard_Page_2



11 Ways to Spend the Summer Solstice and National Aboriginal Day


June 21st is National Aboriginal Day in Canada. What will you be doing to celebrate?

Although we're not totally sold on the idea of the federal government designating one day a year to celebrate Indigenous culture, at least it's an opportunity to check out some amazing performances by Indigenous artists.

And, as June 21st also marks the summer solstice, there are more than enough reasons to get out of the house and show your love for all things NDN, First Nations, Aboriginal, Native, Métis, Inuit, and Indigenous.

There are many different events being planned across the country (here, here, and here, for example), so we were hard pressed to narrow things down.

But here are eleven decidedly great ways to spend the solstice and National Aboriginal Day this year.

11. Learn about Métis culture at the National Aboriginal Day Celebration at Métis Crossing

Metis Crossing

The Métis Nation of Alberta and their affiliate organization, Métis Crossing, will be hosting a celebration for National Aboriginal Day on June 21st. Located at the Métis Crossing Historic Site (south of Smokey Lake, Alberta), between 11:00 AM and 6:00 PM, the day's events will include an open stage jam, cultural interpretation, a genealogy exhibit, games, on-site concession, and an elder’s lounge. For more info click here.

10. See Kinnie Starr, Cris Derksen, and Binaeshee-Quae perform at the Luminato Festival in Toronto

Kinnie Starr

Acclaimed Mohawk singer-songwriter and hip-hop artist Kinnie Starr, Métis cellist and experimenter Cris Derksen, and jazzy alterna-folk artist Binaeshee-Quae will perform on June 20th and 21st respectively, as part of the Luminato Festival's New Canadian Music Series which runs daily at the Festival Garden Stage in Toronto. For more info, check out:

9. Watch Kaha:wi Dance Theatre at the Aboriginal Cultural Festival and Competition Powwow in Ottawa

Kaha:wi Dance

Led by founding Artistic Director Tekaronhiáhkhwa Santee Smith, Kaha:wi Dance Theatre (pronounced Ga-Ha-Wee) is an artist-based dance company known for their energetic and innovative performances that blend traditional and contemporary styles. KDT will be performing as part of Ottawa's Summer Solstice events at Vincent Massey Park. On Saturday, June 20th at 1pm, KDT will perform the piece Medicine Bear, which weaves a magical narrative of traditional Iroquoian stories: how the Bear Clan came to be known as the “Keeper of the Medicines” and the hunter who discovered the gift of healing. Plus, don't forget about the full traditional powwow going on all weekend too. For more info, visit:

8. Bring your family for a pancake breakfast at Trout Lake on Coast Salish Territories in Vancouver


The Annual National Aboriginal Day Celebration on Coast Salish Territories will once again be held at Trout Lake on Sunday, June 21st. It’s a community-based full day of events that celebrates the diversity of Indigenous Peoples from across Canada. First Nations, Métis & Inuit peoples gather to share their experiences, stories, songs, traditional games, dances & spirit with each other & the general community. All events are FREE, all Aboriginal community members & supporters are welcome; and it's a family-friendly event, with no alcohol or drugs permitted. There's a full day of activities, but get there early before the pancakes run out! For more information visit:

7. Start implementing the Truth and Reconciliation Commission's recommendations in Halifax


Celebrate National Aboriginal Day with justice in Halifax: by joining other like-minded people to support the Mi'kmaq Nation in Nova Scotia, and taking up national calls by Indigenous and allied organizers to implement the 94 recommendations put forth by Canada's Truth and Reconciliation Commission. The work of reconciliation belongs to all of us, and Halifax organizers are taking the lead. But no matter where you live, why not start learning more about how you can bring more truth and more justice into this colonial world of ours. Here's more information on how Nova Scotian organizers are gathering and getting started for NAD:

6. Catch Leonard Sumner at the Indigenous Arts Festival in Fort York


Anishinaabe MC/singer/songwriter Leonard Sumner will be one of many performers taking part in the Indigenous Arts Festival at Fort York in Toronto. Fusing elements of hip-hop, country, and rhythm & blues, his music appeal cuts across age lines, allowing his style to be enjoyed by people who typically 'aren't into rap'. Sumner will be rocking the festival mainstage on Saturday, June 20th at 5:30pm. For more information, click here.

5. Join the Songhees and Esquimalt Nations for the Aboriginal Cultural Festival in Victoria

Le-La-La Dancers

Featuring three days of performances on an outdoor stage in the plaza at the Royal BC Museum in the heart of downtown Victoria, BC, the Aboriginal Cultural Festival will run from June 19-21, 2015. Each day will be dedicated to a coastal nation: there's a Coast Salish Nation Day, a Nuu-Chah-Nulth Nation Day, and a Kwakwaka'wakw Nation Day. All weekend the festival will open with performances from the two local Host Nations and follow with shows from Aboriginal performers from across the province as well as a show from 3-time World Hoop Dancing Champion Alex Wells. Full schedule and info at:

4. Go see Ghostkeeper, Derek Miller, and Crystal Shawanda in Edmonton


Second in size only to Winnipeg's #ADL2015 celebration, Edmonton will be putting on a full day's worth of events on June 21st, culminating in a mainstage show that will feature some incredible Indigenous performers—including the idiosyncratic experimentalism of Ghostkeeper, the full-blown, blues rock of Derek Miller, and the powerful contemporary country sounds of Crystal Shawanda. Definitely worth checking out. For more about Edmonton's 9th annual Aboriginal Day celebration, click here.

3. Rock out with Don Amero, Brett Kissel, and Lightning Cloud in Winnipeg


With his new album, Unrefined, recently released to the world, Don Amero is taking to the Aboriginal Day Live mainstage alongside his buddy Brett Kissel, and Los Angeles-based hip-hop duo Lightning Cloud, to rock The Forks in Winnipeg. Look out for a special rendition of a new song that Amero and Kissel wrote a few months back, called "Rebuild This Town". Oh, and RedCloud will be incorporating crowdsourced words and ideas into his freestyles during Lightning Cloud's set. You don't want to miss 'em. For more on #ADL2015 in Winnipeg, check out:

2. Get your Electric Pow Wow on with A Tribe Called Red in Vancouver


You may have seen ATCR before, but not like this. A Tribe Called Red will be bringing the electric pow-wow out of the nightclubs and into the park—Malkin Bowl in Stanley Park to be precise—for a massive, outdoor Indigenous throwdown on Saturday, June 20th. This one isn't free, but it's definitely worth the price of admission. The Tribe will rock the spot alongside Blondtron & Waspy, the amazing Git Hayetsk Dancers, and local DJ crew Klash Akt. Get down to the bass-heavy sounds of DJ NDN, Bear Witness, and 2oolman rocking a stage surrounded by the sunset, sea, and ancient cedars. An Aboriginal Day meets summer solstice taste of Indigenous dance music perfection? Sounds like it to us. More info and tickets available here:

1. Celebrate the Midnight Sun in Inuvik, NWT


In Canada's Northwest Territories—the only place in the country where National Aboriginal Day is a statutory holiday—you can experience a summer solstice that lasts well into the night. Join other northerners in Inuvik, NWT on June 21st for a day of events celebrating the local Gwich'in, Inuvialuit and Métis people and cultures. From traditional drumming, dancing, and foods, to a Midnight Sun Run in celebration of the summer solstice's warm temperatures, experience what it's like to be out in the sunlit streets long after midnight, above the Arctic Circle. And that photo above? That was taken at 1:30am in late May. Learn more about NAD celebrations in the NWT here:


Listen to the Sultry Sounds of Once A Tree's New Single, "Take Me"


Toronto duo Once A Tree drops their latest single, "Take Me".

Once A Tree is a band of the moment.

Although their trap-inflected take on downtempo, dreamy, electronic pop at times harkens back to the chilled out sounds of the early 90s, Once A Tree wraps their low key beats in a hazy 21st century collage of aesthetic influences.

Saulteaux singer Jayli Wolf's lilting vocals pair beautifully with husband Hayden John Wolf's 808-stamped beat production, and their sound is completed with soaring synths, spacious pads, and drifting melodies.

"Take Me" fits the bit bill perfectly and further locks Once A Tree's rep as a duo to watch closely as they continue their rapid rise into pop cultural notoriety. It's only a matter of time.

Their debut EP, Thousand Lives, drops July 10, 2015 on Foreseen Entertainment.

STREAM: Once A Tree, "Take Me"

Watch Once a Tree's Debut "Howling" Video


Toronto-based duo Once a Tree premiere the video for their latest single, "Howling".

Saulteaux singer Jayli Wolf and husband/musical partner/producer Hayden John Wolf are onto something.

As the enigmatic duo Once a Tree, their lush EDM-inspired, bedroom-R&B/electronic pop compositions were catching fire on SoundCloud going back to early 2014, but now their page features just one song.

That single, however, is "Howling"—a massive dubstep-inflected dose of downtempo pop that has already amassed two hundred thousand plays.

This week, said single gets a similarly chic visual treatment, in the group's haunting, Jonathan Riera-directed debut video, which premiered over on Not a bad for a duo with only one 'official' song to their credit.

Although their sounds have been appearing and disappearing from the internet for a while now, "Howling" marks their proper arrival. Once a Tree is here to stay.

Watch: Once a Tree - "Howling"

Stream: Once a Tree, "Howling"


Download "Howling" on iTunes and stream it on Spotify.

Aboriginal Pavilion to Host Epic 10-Day Indigenous Music and Arts Festival in Toronto


The 2015 Pan Am/Parapan Am Games in Toronto will get a huge dose of Indigenous culture this summer, during the Aboriginal Pavilion's inaugural arts and music festival.

We heard word about the Aboriginal Pavilion's plans a while ago, but we didn't realize the extent of what they were planning.

The festival is going to be huge.

Coinciding with the 2015 Pan Am & Parapan Games in Toronto, the Aboriginal Pavilion will bring together some of the most dynamic Indigenous artists and musicians from across Turtle Island to perform over the course of ten music-filled days—from July 17-26, 2015.

In addition to the music, the organizers are also planning to feature comedy, visual arts, traditional crafts workshops, artist talks, film screenings and a curated exhibition.

Keep an eye on the Aboriginal Pavilion site for the release of the full schedule, but for now, check out the festival concert listings. All events are free and open to the public. Performances will take place at the Fort York Historic Site's Garrison Common grounds (250 Fort York Blvd, Toronto).

And just look at who's performing. It's going to get hot in Toronto this summer. Be there or be colonized.


  • 1491s
  • A Tribe Called Red
  • Susan Agluklark
  • Gabriel Ayala
  • Mob Bounce
  • Tomson Highway & Patricia Cano
  • Cris Derksen
  • Brendt Thomas Diabo
  • Bitterly Divine
  • Ruben Esguerra
  • Leela Gilday
  • Quetzal Guerrero
  • Dustin Hollings
  • Nigel Irwin
  • Iskwé
  • Iskwew Singers
  • Elisapie Isaac
  • Reyes Poetry & Sacramento Knoxx
  • George Leach
  • LightningCloud
  • Cheri Maracle
  • Jace Martin
  • Melody McKiver
  • Plex & Rellik
  • Ryan McMahon
  • Nadjiwan
  • Sierra Noble
  • Candy Palmater
  • Lido Pimienta
  • Amanda Rheaume
  • Classic Roots
  • Digging Roots
  • Don Ross
  • Crystal Shawanda
  • Nick Sherman
  • Logan Staats
  • Ulali

The Aboriginal Pavilion Indigenous arts and music festival runs July 17-26, 2015. For more information visit

The Indigenous Music Takeover in Toronto This Weekend


Both Tanya Tagaq and A Tribe Called Red have sold out concerts in Toronto this week. Tagaq is set to perform for 350+ people at The Great Hall on November 6 and Tribe is taking over the Danforth Music Hall on November 7 (a 1,400 capacity room).

This coincidence is really exciting because it demonstrates that there is a significant market for uniquely Indigenous music in one of Canada's most competitive scenes.

Unfortunately it doesn't mean that every Indigenous artist will experience the same kind of success in the upcoming months or years. Tagaq and Tribe are exceptional and just like Jay-Z or Bill Gates they had exactly what the world was looking for at a time when it was ready to look.

The lessons that I think Indigenous artists should take away from the successes of Tagaq and Tribe include:

  • Good music matters the most
  • Good management matters the second most
  • Media attention follows intelligent artists
  • Performances at mainstream music festivals help artists build markets
  • Aboriginal music festivals and music award shows are only stepping stones
  • Being nice is super important

Tagaq's November 6 show kicks off a seven stop tour in November, which is set to pick up again with six dates at performing arts centres throughout the US after the holidays. Tribe's November 7 show is one of three that the boys have planned for November because they spent most of the summer months hitting the festival circuit pretty hard and need a little break from the airports and take out food of tour life.

Visit for more information about Tagaq and for more information about her management.

Visit for more information about Tribe and for more information about their management.



-- Alan Greyeyes is a member of the Peguis First Nation in Manitoba and has been working full time in the music industry since 2005. In 2013, Greyeyes was honoured with the Future Leaders of Manitoba award for his contributions to the arts. Greyeyes graduated from Trent University in 2002 with a Bachelor of Arts degree majoring in Economics and was featured on the cover of the Spring 2013 edition of the university's alumni magazine. Follow him on Twitter: @alangreyeyes

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

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: Plex - "I Can't Breathe"


We've got a new video by hip-hop artist Plex featuring Lisa Charleyboy for his song I Can't Breathe.

Plex has been pushing his new album Demons for the last couple months, and now released a new video from that album for his song I Can't Breathe. Featuring Lisa Charleyboy (@UrbanNativeGirl), this production is a clean professional music video that was also edited by Plex. (Boom!)

Watch: Plex - "I Can't Breathe"

Don't forget to checkout some free Plex music here:  DOWNLOAD: Plex – “Chasin’”.

Artist Call: Manifesto and ORIGINS Calling All Native MCs


ORIGINS: Breaking Beats & Boundaries is calling Native MCs to compete for a chance at a paid performance spot at the Manifesto Festival 2012.

Compete on June 30th in front of a panel of industry judges in Toronto, Ontario, for your chance to win the grand prize of paid performance spot at Manifesto 2012!

Submissions can be made online at:

And then stick around, as the event is being followed by performances from Kinnie Starr, Iskwé and A Tribe Called Red, hosted by Wab Kinew. Get the details on that on Facebook.

Good luck!

VIDEO: Joey Stylez - "Take A Picture"


Here's a new video from Joey Stylez for his song Take A Picture directed by Laura Milliken of Big Soul Productions.

Showing his diversity as an artist, this song and video takes us into the mainstream style of production and is a great looking video by Stressed Street's most prolific artist.

Be sure to request this video on MuchMusic.