DOWNLOAD: The imagineNATIVE 2015 Mixtape, Featuring GlitClit, Madeskimo, and Akkil


RPM is pleased to present the 2015 imagineNATIVE mixtape, as part of the festival's 16th annual celebration of Indigenous creativity.

The imagineNATIVE Film + Media Arts Festival is the world's largest showcase of film, music, and media arts by Indigenous artists.

Boasting an incredible diversity in contemporary forms of Indigenous creative expression, the festival celebrates the thriving artistry among Indigenous Peoples. Running October 14-18 in Toronto, we are pleased to partner with imagineNATIVE to support the festival's commitment to Indigenous music.

On Saturday, October 17, imagineNATIVE will present a live music performance night "The Beat DJ POW! WOW!" — featuring electronic sets from GlitClit, Madeskimo, and Akkil.

To get you hyped for the show, we've assembled a fresh, new mixtape featuring all three of the artists performing at the show.

Inuk electronic artist madeskimo, a.k.a. Geronimo Inutiq, uses live instruments, digital and analogue synths, and a deft hand at remixing and processing samples to blend traditional Inuit, Aboriginal, modern electronic and urban music into experimental new hybrids.

GlitClit is the DJ project of acclaimed Colombian singer and electronic artist Lido Pimienta, who experiments with Indigenous sonics, beats, live looping, and hypnotic vocals. Known as “Colombian darling” and “SoundSister”, Pimienta has been bumping up Afro-Indigenous chanting and rhythms with brass, experimental noise, walls of sound and her beautiful voice, creating a hyper-coloured hybrid sound that can’t be boxed into lazy genre tags.

Rounding out the night, we will be joined by Akkil - who fuses traditional Sámi joik and Sámi classics with the synth-sounds from the 1980s, to celebrate and honour Sámi musical traditions while infusing them with new dancefloor rhythms.

Hosted by Rachelle White Wind, "The Beat" will also feature breakdancing performances by Jay Robi, Siez Swift & Krystal Riverz, with a special performance by Rhythm Natives.

In addition to live performances, and music-themed screenings, this year's festival will also feature some new experiments with Virtual Reality Portals, where audiences get to experience immersive "Oculus VR" demos featuring music from A Tribe Called Red and Tanya Tagaq.

Don't miss this incredible celebration of Indigenous creativity and community. And join us on Saturday for an epic NDN throwdown on the dancefloor.

"The Beat DJ POW! WOW!" will be held Saturday, October 17th at Revival in Toronto.

DOWNLOAD: The imagineNATIVE 2015 Mixtape

Silver Jackson Premieres New Music Video for "Starry Skies Opened Eyes (Pt.II)"


Silver Jackson drops a video for the title track from his latest album, Starry Skies Opened Eyes.

One of our favourite releases of 2014Silver Jackson's Starry Skies Opened Eyes is a bold imagining of an Indigenous future found in the reclamation of life and the rediscovery of present possibilities in the here and now.

Collaborating with Diné filmmaker Dylan McLaughlin, the Tlingit Unangax̂ artist has released an evocative black and white music video for the album's title track, "Starry Skies Opened Eyes".

Here's what he had to say about the clip and the album:

"Starry Skies Opened Eyes features" vocals from multidisciplinary Métis artist Moe Clark. The album was recorded over a three year period that saw Jackson narrowly escape death in a hunting accident, and traces his path to newfound perspectives on life through love and gratitude…friends and family.

Watch the video below and stream the full album, Starry Skies Opened Eyes, right here on RPM.

Silver Jackson - Starry Skies Opened Eyes (Pt. II) from Dylan McLaughlin

STREAM: Postcommodity's 'We Lost Half The Forest And The Rest Will Burn This Summer'


Postcommodity is back with a snarling new album of decay, decomposition, and cyclical renewal.

Acclaimed Indigenous artist collective Postcommodity—Nathan Young, Kade Twist, Cristobal Martinez and Raven Chacon—return with their new album, We Lost Half The Forest And The Rest Will Burn This Summer, a darkly brilliant new album of noise and experimental sonics.

From the disintegration of its opening chord, We Lost Half The Forest lurches into a jarring and unrelenting movement toward some unknown destination or origin. The seeming soundtrack to an imminent decline, whether that of Western Civilization or a litany of other obliquely inferred societal ills—the rusting stench of rapacious global capitalism, the destructive, crushing force of the colonial machine—Postcommodity's virtuosic evisceration of the melodic comfort of the listener also makes space to suggest, however subtly, an inchoate sense of Indigenous presence, resurgent return.

There is the hum of something else amidst the chaos and destruction.

The 16-song concept album, the collective's third, was recorded at the Banff Centre for the Arts during a recent residency, and its contours mark not a linear trajectory of inevitable apocalyptic anxiety and decline but, instead, an imminent journey inward, and down—into and through—the land itself.

The album traces "the ever-cycling decay of a desert drought from the view of its flora and fauna", and We Lost Half the Forest makes audible the dirge and drama of a world crackling, humming, and burning. A world starved for water—gasping for air—spinning down "the only path" available to itself to reclaim some sense of disoriented direction.

Acoustically, as is their oblique aesthetic tendency, the group combines Western classical instruments and performers, with their own Southwestern-rasquache electronics, into a deceptive blend of sonic assault, quiet hums, and melodic passages. With contributions from Marc Sabat, Nico Dann, Cecilia Bercovich, Achiya Asher, Cohen Alloro, Aaron Bannerman, Dory Hayley and Ilana Dann, the collective swells and crashes through Godspeed You! Black Emperor levels of intensity, while recalibrating the terrain of Indigenous noise and melody.

As the blasting, searing sounds of "Chacoma" rise to a crescendo of dissonant trumpets, feedback, colossal bass drums, vibrating strings, struck piano, and the haunted wails of far-off voices, the "end" the album evokes seems to eclipse the possibility of its own arrival. The swirling burn of "Dia Del Cabrón" cascades into caterwauling, recursive feedback loops, while in later tracks like, "Dios Nunca Muere", the feedback has ebbed and faded, and all that is left is the undulation of frequencies set adrift. Winding back and worth, the album marches and warbles on, as though the sound of weather-worn metallic leaves were clawing back to life in the abated breath of a passing storm.

Postcommodity are masters of both the severe and the serene.

Their music, an art of calculated counterpoint, stages an elemental clash of forces that spins through clouds of anticipated violence, but refuses the finality of obliteration. To listen to this album is to become immersed within it, to be grasped by its ravenous, tentacular clutches, to be pulled deeper into a desertification of the mind.

Postcommodity walks with you—or perhaps they just walk you—solitary, blindfolded, out into an unknown landscape's dry, raw heat, until only the rhythms of parched plants can be heard. Until even those collapse and burn, while the ululating shape of the land's breath grows ever louder in your ears. Until your own heartbeat thrums wildly in your chest. Until, at the end, when the blindfold is removed, you look wildly about for a horizon that you know has grown only into a deepening darkness, the sound of the ground above you, enclosing, enfolding everything.

PREMIERE: Postcommodity, "Chacoma"

DOWNLOAD: Postcommodity's We Lost Half The Forest And The Rest Will Burn This Summer

Postcommodity's We Lost Half The Forest And The Rest Will Burn This Summer is available in a limited run of 200 vinyl copies, with jacket printed and embossed with ash. Naturally. For more information visit

Raven Chacon, Laura Ortman, and the Discotays Perform at One Flaming Arrow Festival


The One Flaming Arrow Festival of Indigenous art, music, and performance blazes on.

Kicking off last week in Portland, Oregon, the inaugural One Flaming Arrow Festival is bringing an incredible array of contemporary Indigenous art, music, readings, film screenings, panels, performances, and concerts to the Indigenous lands of the Chinook/Multnomah peoples.

The brainchild of Demian DinéYazhi, Kaila Farrell-Smith (both of R.I.S.E.), and Carlee Smith, One Flaming Arrow launched a successful crowdfunding campaign this winter to bring together radical Indigenous voices from across Native america for a 12-day celebration of contemporary Indigenous arts.

The festival features a stellar lineup that includes:

  • Bat Vomit
  • Natalie Ball
  • Dylan Miner
  • Melanie Fey
  • Sky Hopinka
  • Shilo George
  • Jeff Ferguson
  • Laura Ortman
  • The Discotays
  • Brittany Britton
  • Raven Chacon
  • Katrina Benally
  • Amanda Ranth
  • Miranda Crystal
  • Almas Fronterizas
  • "Drunktown's Finest"
  • Burial Ground Sound
  • Grace Rosario Perkins w/Amberlee Cotchay
  • Melissa Bennett w/Elizabeth LaPensée & Allie Vasquez

In between the low-rider bike workshops, storytelling sessions, art installations, poetry performances, and an Indigenous Futurisms film night curated by Grace Dillon, the festival is also showcasing some of the finest in Indigenous music culture.

On Tuesday, June 9th, Diné experimental/noise musician Raven Chacon (of Postcommodity), White Mountain Apache violinist Laura Ortman, and the Diné electro-queerpostpunk duo Discotays will throw down at the Holocene. Event info is below.

The One Flaming Arrow Festival continues through June 14th. Check the festival program for the full schedule of events.

One Flaming Arrow offers stark and powerful evidence of the Indigenous artists at the forefront of the contemporary creative arts. May this year be the first of many to come.

Listen to an OPB radio interview on the One Flaming Arrow Festival


JUNE 9th: Laura Ortman & Raven Chacon Performance and the Discotays at the Holocene!

9:30pm-11:30pm Holocene: 1001 SE Morrison, Portland 97214 Join us on June 9th, 2015 at the Holocene in Portland, Oregon for Raven Chacon & Laura Ortman + Discotays. We have the honor of showcasing two award-winning multi-instrumentalists, Indigenous composers Raven Chacon & Laura Ortman along with the musical styling of Discotrays.

Tickets available here

DISCOTAYS (Diné) are a music duo from Navajo Nation, comprised of artists Hansen Ashley & Brad Charles. Their music has been adored by the likes of Kathleen Hanna and can be described as post-punk electro & queerpostpunk / queerpostsurf / queernowave.

Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) has performed with Stars Like Fleas, the Dust Dive & Silver Summit, & composes music for art installations & films in the form of the Dust Dive Flash. She plays violin, Apache violin, piano, electric guitar, musical saw & samplers. Ortman has created music for films by Martha Colburn & Indigenous filmmakers Blackhorse Lowe, Alan Michelson, & Raquel Chapa, among others.

Raven Chacon (Diné/Chicano) is a chamber music composer & experimental noise artist. Chacon is a member of the Indigenous art collective, Postcommodity, with whom he has developed multi-media installations that have been exhibited internationally. Both his solo work & his work with Postcommodity has been presented at the Sydney Bienale, Kennedy Center, Adelaide International, Vancouver Art Gallery, Musée d’ art Contemporain de Montréal, The San Francisco Electronic Music Festival, Chaco Canyon, & Performance Today. Tickets are $8 in advance & $10 at the door. 21 and over.

Watch Raven Chacon, Live at End Tymes in New York City

Watch the Anime-tastic Video for Princess Nokia's, "Nokia"


Princess Nokia drops an anime-laden video for her ethereal, cyber-R&B track, "Nokia".

Comic-Con, anime and cosplay obsessed Taino artist, Princess Nokia, is back with new visuals for her dreamy electronic track "Nokia"—and the video features a swirling cascade of her favourite neon images and sugary pop influences.

As the owwwls-produced, Nokia ringtone-sampling beat swirls around her, Princess Nokia kicks back with her homies amidst piles of iridescent pillows, floating metallic butterflies, sparkly hair clips, spinning candy-coloured iBooks, red-lit staircases, robotic dogs, and Genetix comics, while freeform cuts and samples from anime Michiko to Hatchin, Japanese video games, and the old Nickelodeon sitcom Taina spin out this "holographic fantasy".

Surefire in her late 90s/early-new millenial futuristic throwback stance, "Nokia" finds the "supernatural princess" right in her element.


Watch Princess Nokia, "Nokia"


DOWNLOAD: Princess Nokia's "Nokia"

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

10 Most Influential Indigenous Albums of 2011


It was a good year for music in Indian Country with new releases coming from every corner of Turtle Island and in every genre you can imagine. LPs, EPs, singles, mixtapes, remixes - we've heard most of it here at RPM and while it's difficult to say what the best albums of the year are, we've tallied up the records we think have been the most influential.

These albums made a splash on the scene, presented a new perspective, reached new heights in production and creativity, or attained a new level of work for the artist.

Check out RPM's 10 Most Influential Indigenous Albums of 2011:

Blue King Brown - Blue King Brown (BKB) BKB ripped through Canada with their first Canadian release (self-titled) this past summer. Their fearless approach to global issues and energetic combination of live urban roots music is sure to have taken many Turtle Island fans. With front woman Natalie Pa’apa’a (Samoa) leading the pack with her pint-size ball of fire attitude, their shows get you moving and their album will hopefully inspire more local Indigenous folks to take their messages to the dance floor. One of our favorite tracks is Come and Check Your Head with lyrics "'Cause this battle’s about to get hotter, I feel it in my heart! AND next time you're waiting for something to change, Instead of just sitting and wasting the day, The struggle it breathes now and calls out your name." Yep.

Label: Indica. Get Blue King Brown on iTunes.

Winnipeg's Most - Goodfellaz The trio of Winnipeg's Most definitely made HUGE leaps and bounds this year with their multiple video releases and the literal clean-up of Aboriginal People's Choice Awards.  Their album Goodfellaz took home 6 awards this year and yielded a handful of quality music videos that all garnered huge hits on YouTube. These guys don't seem to be slowing down at all and are continuing to release more music every month.

Label: Heatbag Records/Rezofficial Music. Get Goodfellaz on iTunes.

Terri-Lynn Williams-DavidsonNew Journeys This album in the Haida language aims to start a new journey for Haida music. Through combining contemporary instrumentation with traditional, Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson establishes a connection to Haida culture that some may not find in a more traditional format. Most of the songs are original compositions, the production of which is beautiful, stirring and meditative. Williams-Davidson's voice is soft and strong and even if you don't understand the words, deeply moving in its delivery. Music is surely one of the best methods of using and preserving language, and in New Journeys - which won Williams-Davidson Best Female Artists of 2011 at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards - Williams-Davdison brings the language not only to the present time but also straight to the heart.

Label: Raven Calling Productions. Get New Journeys on CDBaby.

The Local Onlyz Kings Among Clowns Bringing some funk and hip-hop into the world of Indigneous music, The Local Onlyz hit it off this year with their album King's Among Clowns. Starting with a great video for their song Next To You, their album brought a new breath of energy to the table. Mixing the styles of live instrumented hip-hop with frontman Infored's technically savvy rap style, brought them out to Aboriginal Music Week and also onto our most influential albums list for 2011.

Label: Independent. Hear Kings Among Clowns on SoundCloud.

Vince FontaineSongs for Turtle Island Ojibway musician Vince Fontaine is best known as the founder of and guitarist for rock band Eagle & Hawk who have been successfully making music together for 16 years. 2011 was the year that Fontaine, for the first time, went solo. Songs for Turtle Island has collected a list of well-deserved award nominations and wins, including winning Best Instrumental at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards and Native American Music Awards and Best Songwriter at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, in 2011. It's not hard to hear why the praises are being sung - the 8 songs on Songs for Turtle Island are an eclectic but cohesive fusion of contemporary instrumental genres with traditional Native American music, from atmospheric electronic instrumentation to hand drum. The result is unique, captivating and one of this year's best albums.

Label: Rising Sun Productions. Get Songs for Turtle Island on CDBaby.

 1491 Nation Presents: MC RedCloud Though this is a mixtape, this album made major waves in the Indigenous hip-hop scene. MC RedCloud has been touring and collaborating all over Turtle Island for the last decade, bringing his energetic unmatched rap skills to stages in both Canada and the United States sides of the border. 1491 Nation Presents: MC RedCloud brought us back to a time in hip-hop that was all about the beats and rhymes, that was a great gift to the ears of hip-hop listeners this summer. Filled with comedy skits and solid songs in the classic RedCloud style, this is an album that you should get right now if you don't have it already.

Label: Independent. Get 1491 Nation Presents: MC RedCloud on Bandcamp.

Silver Jackson - It's Glimmering Now Following his release of the experimental hip-hop EP Digital Indigenous under the moniker of Indian Nick in April this year, Nicholas Galanin turned to his more acoustic persona Silver Jackson and released It's Glimmering Now in November. That said, in the past Silver Jackson has been a more bluesy, folky side of Galanin but with It's Glimmering Now his sonic pursuits seem to be coming closer together. It's a welcome contribution of experimental and acoustic vibe on a music scene that can be saturated with hip-hop and country, displaying the best of the diversity in Indigenous music culture today. With each listen, you'll hear something you didn't on your last, which is to say it's a grower and an aural landscape to explore. So get in there and look around.

Label: Homeskillet Records. Get It's Glimmering Now on Bandcamp.

Laura Ortman Someday We'll Be Together This summer Laura Ortman released her second solo album Someday We'll Be Together which features her on vocals, violin, piano, electric guitar, Apache violin (a long hollowed out Agave stalk with both the string and the bow hairs made of horse tail hair), Casio, and tree branches. Her classical training combined with her adventurous heart lead us on a magical, spaced out adventure through New York.  Check out our recent RPM spotlight on her.

Label: Lightning Speak. Get Someday We'll Be Together on Bandcamp.

Beaatz Music Is Me let's include a mention that we included him in our 4 to watch in 2012 We cannot say enough about the introduction of Tobique First Nation's Beaatz. He stepped onto the hip-hop scene this year with an undeniable hip-hop sound that makes you say, "This kid is from WHERE?!?!?". His debut album Music Is Me was released earlier this year and has all the makings to be a classic that he decided to release for FREE download. His skilled production and rap ability will always ensure him a place at the table for the years to come.

Label: Independent. Get  Music is Me via MegaUpload.

Phyllis Sinclair - Dreams of the Washerwoman Winner of Best Folk Acoustic Album at this year's Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, Dreams of the Washerwomanis the third album from swampy Cree singer-songwriter Phyllis Sinclair. With this release, she has honed and deepened her songwriting and performance, the result of which is 10 strong songs, each featuring beautiful melodies and striking imagery. Dedicating the album to single parent families, the true heart of the album is the stories Sinclair shares - drawing from her own experiences of being raised in poverty by a single mother, she speaks to struggle and perseverance with compassion and wisdom. Dreams of the Washerwoman is a benchmark for Sinclair and a work that stands out within the singer-songwriter genre.

Label: Independent. Get Dreams of the Washerwoman on CDBaby.

SPOTLIGHT: White Mountain Apache Laura Ortman


Studying the violin as a child set Laura Ortman on a path to collaborating, composing, creating The Coast Orchestra with all Native American members, and expanding her own musical arsenal to include singing, piano, guitars and even tree branches. 

Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) was adopted as a baby into a musical family from Alton, Illinois. Her adopted mother was a pianist and coordinated the community's youth orchestra for 20 years. Laura was introduced to the violin at the age of 8 and by the time she was a teen, she was playing with the St. Louis Youth Symphony. When it came time to choose a focus for her post-secondary schooling she chose to study drawing, painting, sculpture and performance art at the University of Kansas. After university, Ortman moved to New York where she played with the Brooklyn College and Hunter College Symphony Orchestras. She also starting writing improvisational music for modern dance performances.

Laura's explorations have taken her into many collaborative groupings including The Dust Dive with Ken Switzer and Bryan Zimmerman formed in 2000. The Dust Dive released two albums Claws of Light (2007) and Asleep or Awake Walk (2005) both of which are still distributed through OWN Records. OWN describes them as "weird, warm, and captivating" using violin, guitar, piano, acoustic reed organ, musical saw, sampled radios, field recordings, and uncommonly vivid verse soar with gritty equanimity and “mythological twang.” They often wove super-8 and video footage from weather documentaries, family movies and other imagery into their live performances.

In 2001, Laura partnered up with Brad Kahlammer to create National Braid and they released a self titled album in 2002. National Braid also live scored the 1929 silent film Redskin, commissioned by the Smithsonian National Museum, and they toured screenings through New Mexico, Italy, the Czech Rebuplic and the Tribeca Film Festival.

She has worked on a long list of film collaborations including a live soundtrack to films by artist Martha Colburn, a soundtrack to an art film by Mohawk artist Alan Michelson, a playful score for a short film by Navajo film maker Blackhorse Lowe and most recently Laura's music video I Lost My Shadow was featured on our list of Top 16 Music Videos of 2011. Its director Nanobah Becker won Best Music Video at the 2011 imagineNATIVE festival and stars the NYC ballet dancer Jock Soto (Navajo) .

Laura formed The Coast Orchestra, with all Native American players, in 2008 and wowed sold-out crowds at the National Gallery of Art in Washington D.C. and at the opening of the Margaret Mead Festival in New York. Their mandate being to promote classically trained Native American musicians and to perform music about Native Americans. They have members from thirteen nations from Alaska, Arizona, New York and Washington D.C.

Laura's second solo album Someday We'll Be Together released this August is available through and was recorded in Brooklyn by Martin Bisi. It features Laura on violin, piano, electric guitar, and the Apache violin, Casio, tree branches and vocals.

I emailed Laura with a couple questions that I just couldn't contain and even though she'd just accidentally burnt her sacred hands with hot tea water she took the time to send these beautiful replies.

RPM: What was it like meeting your birth family? How do you think the experience of having two families, one adopted and one by blood has influenced your art?

Laura Ortman: Meeting my birthfamily a month before 9/11 in Whiteriver, Arizona, was like one of those moments when you are still and the whole world is spinning around you. That's the best I can explain what that moment was like. Meeting my birthmother and birthsister face to face out in the woods and seeing their eyes for the first time in bright daylight was exactly where I felt I had been renewed. It also magically validated all these ideas, emotions and experiences of being adopted as a Native woman that I kept in my head and not feeling like I was losing my mind all those years growing up till then because I had been far away and lost. It was a great reunion! Still learning how to be from two families. Especially after the devastating loss of my adopted mom 7 months after 9/11. She fell from a brain hemorrhage and was gone instantly. So between finding myself come full circle with my birthfamily, the depression of 9/11 and the sudden loss of her, everything took dramatic forms for a long time. I've always been so thankful, grateful and appreciative my adopted family supported my music and art all my life. Seeing how its all come together is incredibly humbling, but it feels really good.

It's the sure thing to have the art and music I do to be able to express how life seems and re-create stories, real or imaginary that happen. I don't play all dark, all sad, all blessed, all bright music all the time. The way life has worked out I have lots of imagery and events to reference when I'm conveying a message. And now more than ever, everything takes on a new, matured day from the ever on-ringing past and has its basis in continuing scenarios and influences,  in addition to my personal family histories. Thanks for asking me this question. Hard to put it into words a little bit, but thanks. (I can't wait to give everrrryone in my families a big hug now.)

RPM: After being brought up on classical music can you describe your first improvised performance experience(s)?

LO: The lonely life of this artist has been SAVED by improvisation because as far as I can remember it has always been a collaborative experience.  I took some performance art and installation art courses in college and started playing violin for them live. I could pre-record myself on tape or make a loop on a CD player and duet with myself alongside that for performances. It was too much fun! Never any dialogue, just "found" sounds or experimenting on how to make things make sense to accompany the art. When I moved to New York in 1997 I somehow continued on as an improv violinist for modern dancers. Getting called to rehearsals, street performances, residencies for various dancers really helped me figure out how to just keep bouncing ideas off and from them. And then I started getting asked to do music for film! In 2002, me and my then bandmate for National Braid collaborated on composing and performing a live soundtrack to a silent film from 1929 called Redskin. Collaborating with the moving vintage images and trying to help them express the silentness of it all was wonderful. We had a succinct and scratchy map of our score but never a full-on note by note scenario of what we were doing. Just went and flew with it for each performance. It was original and free. The classical geek in me has kept up with etudes, concertos, sight-reading still... just so I can keep my chops up to play with the powerful ideas improv has led me to. To me improvisation is in the energy of true collaboration that makes it work or not.

RPM: Can you explain the Apache Violin?

LO: There's this incredible friend, Drew Lacapa (Apache, Hopi, Tewa) who was the man who helped me directly find my birthmother and sister that day on the White Mountain Apache reservation. I celebrate every trip back to the rez when visiting my family and also visiting him and his family. He gave me the Apache violin I now play, perform and record with. Its a long hollowed out Agave stalk with grouped wound string that resonates when bowed that you can tune with one peg. Its hand painted. The bow is arc shaped and from what I can tell is that both the string and the bow hairs are made of horse tail hair. The hairs on my Apache violin are so shredded right now it can't be played. Until I find a horse. Its got a small nasally sound and I use my classical violin rosin on its bow to give it some breathiness. On my latest album my engineer, Martin Bisi put a wonderful microphone on it to really bring out its earthy tones. I've used it for four-track recordings at home, for audio interviews and for a performance at John Zorn's performance space here in New York called The Stone. I really need to find a horse.

Here is Opening Ceremony by Laura Ortman. Can someone please find this woman a horse?!

4 Indigenous Musicians to Watch in 2012


What a year 2011 has been for Indigenous music! From new music by time-tested artists to surprising new splashes on the scene, here's four artists we're keeping our eye on as we move into the New Year. You'll want to pay attention to these artists for great new things in 2012.

Ali Fontaine From the Sagkeeng First Nation in Manitoba, Ali Fontaine is a 17-year old country artist, mentored by Indigenous music legend Errol Ranville. She made waves this year with her debut eponymous album and single Say it to Me. The track's music video, a slick and colourful trip through New York city, was directed by Strongfront A/V Productions founder Jesse Green. Indeed, Ali has been quickly drawing the attention of big hitters and fans alike - she took home Best Country CD and Best New Artist at the Aboriginal People's Choice Awards. With all of this under her belt before she's even graduated high school, we know Ali is just getting started and look forward to what the young star will create next.

Here's Say it to Me:

Beaatz Hailing from the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada, Beaatz is also a remarkable young artist who popped up on the scene in 2011. At 19, he's proven to be a prolific emcee/producer this year, establishing off the bat a clean cut production style and sharp rap abilities.  That, putting New Brunswick on the map for Indigenous hip-hop, and being an innovator of style, are why we recommend you look out for Beaatz in 2012.

Here's Never Lookin' Back:

Cris Derksen Classically trained but futuristically innovative, Cree cellist Cris Derksen has been a hardworking musician for a few years now. However, 2011 was surely a red letter year and a sign of Derksen's trajectory. She was on tour most of 2011, including two European tours, as a solo artist and as a member of the Beat Nation Live Collective, the band Lightning Dust and the band E.S.L.; she released her first music video, her second - a First Tracks selection - will be released in the New Year;  the CBC documentary series The 8th Fire, due for release in January, features an original score compose by Derksen and her debut album, The Cusp, won Best Instrumental Album at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in Toronto. See what we mean? She's surely in her element and on a roll.

Here's 2 Hours Parking:

A Tribe Called Red Who knew about these guys one year ago? In just one year, the electronic chiefs of the Electric Powwow have made huge leaps and bounds with an international touring schedule, mainstream press recognition and the pioneering of a new style of Indigenous electronic music "Powwow-step" that has taken the music world by storm. The trio of DJ NDN, Bear Witness and DJ Shub have been rocking dance floors at major festivals and parties as well as their own weekly nights in their hometown of Ottawa, Canada, and it's been catching on like wildfire. We know it will continue to grow in 2012 and are excited to see what new artistic heights these three men reach.

Here's Red Skin Girl:

Keep your eyes on RPM for the latest and greatest from these artists, and others in 2012.

VIDEO: The Making of Artificial Cloud


The music of Brooklyn-based White Mountain Apache artist Laura Ortman  is the soundscape for this new video about Bob Haozous (Warm Springs Chiricahua Apache) and his sculpture Artificial Cloud.

The Artificial Cloud is a massive steel monument made by Bob Haozous in honour of one of nature's wonders. It stands at the borderline between the traditionally black and white communities in Tulsa, OK. In this video, Haozous talks about how we are destroying nature and eventually we will have to make monuments to remember parts of the natural world.

Haozous also shares thoughts on his journey as an artist, his father's struggle as an Indigenous person to receive recognition as an artist, reclaiming his Apache name, and regaining his "right to be an Indian." "It's not a right that comes from blood or politics, it's something that you give your children."

The thoughtful piece, by, is cut to music by the lovely Laura Ortman. Enjoy.

DOWNLOAD: Silver Jackson - "Our Love"


This exclusive preview off of Silver Jackson's upcoming album It's Glimmering Now features production by OC Notes. Silver Jackson, aka multi-disciplinary Tlingit/Aleut artist Nicholas Galanin who's other musical project is Indian Nick, travels through both sparse and richly dense experimental psych-folk soundscapes.This track mixes a spacey sound effects with a plucking banjo line and layered vocals - a glimpse of the eclectic sound the new album is bound to explore. Download it, love it, get ready for more.  DOWNLOAD: Silver Jackson - "Our Love"

RPM Podcast #010: "Electric Pow Wow"


Indigenous Peoples across Turtle Island have been dancing and drumming for generations but, in the 21st century, that rhythmic spirit is finding new forms of creative expression. In our tenth episode, the powwow gets plugged in, mashed up and remixed.

Our host Ostwelve asks three emerging Indigenous artists about their use and creation of electronic music.

A Tribe Called Red - the Ottawa-based DJ collective of NDN (Nipissing First Nation), Bear Witness (Cayuga) and Shub (Cayuga) - describe what they're doing in the clubs as a cultural continuence from the powwow, and that the two are not that far apart after all.

Using small digital electronics, Cree electro-cellist Cris Derksen can make her cello sound like a bass, a drum, or even seagulls. Hear how she's creating a new palette for the usually classical instrument and how being a musician is like being a jeweler.

Nicholas Galanin, aka Indian Nick, a Tlingit/Aleut visual artist and musician from Stika Alaska, likens contemporary Indigenous electronic music to our history as strong adaptive communities and cultures, and finds the mixing of electronic with other forms of music comes naturally.

Yes ladies and gentlemen, this revolution has been electrified.

DOWNLOAD: RPM Podcast #010: "Electric Pow Wow"

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

Photo illustration created by the talented Joi Arcand.