VIDEO: 'NiiMiDAA' (Let's Dance) - Idle No More Music Documentary


Multitalented Anishinaabe producer, MC and Detroit Raiz Up Collective member, Sacramento Knoxx, has produced a new short documentary, "NiiMiDAA" ('Let's Dance' in Anishinaabemowin), in support of the Idle No More movement.

Featuring footage from the #RoundDanceRevolution and interviews with artists and organizers including Chantel Henry, Dylan Miner, and Don Lyons, the short film also includes a new music video for Sacramento Knoxx's anthemic #IdleNoMore-inspired hip-hop track "Dear Vaughn", which we featured late last year on the #NationHood Mixtape.

The doc concludes with footage from Idle No More solidarity rallies held in the Detroit-Windsor areas and provides background and context on this ever-evolving Indigenous resurgence and revitalization movement.

Produced by The Raiz Up Hip Hop Collective in solidarity with Idle No More, ZagaaJibiiSing aka (Detroit-Windsor) is Anishinaabemowin for 'place that sticks out the river'.

The Raiz Up  is a Detroit-based crew that uses hip-hop as a tool to create social awareness in their community through community dialogue, artistic creation and collective action. Combining Indigenous cultural roots with hip-hop connections is all part of their ongoing decolonization work to build community and create art and music:

Native American activism holds a prominent place in the group’s work as well. Most RAIZ UP members identify with indigenous culture and the group actively promotes decolonization, the reclaiming of native language and culture.

Members have dropped Native American banners from buildings, helped organize and document an Idle No More dance at Fairlane Mall, and put together an Ojibwe art installation to decolonize space at a traditional native site in Flint. They’re also interested in raising awareness about an Native American burial mound at Historic Fort Wayne in Southwest Detroit.

"NiiMiDAA" captures the heartbeat of Idle No More with passion and vitality; and Knoxx and his crew make it clear that the spirit of the movement lives on.

WATCH: "NiiMiDAA | Idle No More | ZagaaJibiiSing Solidarity"

The Best Indigenous Music of 2013


2013 was a very good year for Indigenous music. Here are our favourite reasons why it's an incredible time to tune in. We're still here—and we're still making amazing music.

Look around you: from the front pages of websites, magazines and the news, to the halls of art galleries, centre stages, and dancefloors, clubs, festivals and playlists, Indigenous artists are at the forefront of almost every form of art and culture. And although we love all kinds of creative expression at RPM, this is a particularly inspiring time for Indigenous music.

In a year that began with the sound of the drum, and in the #RoundDanceRevolution that followed, our music has continued to keep us in time and on beat as the world marches ahead—with our people leading the charge.

As we spin back around for #Revolution2 here at RPM, we asked our Indigenous community to weigh in with their picks for the Best Indigenous Music of 2013.

Mohawk radio host, writer and artist Janet Rogers always knows what's up. At the top of her best album list is Derek Miller's Blues Vol. 1. Why? "Hot, rough, sexy, blues." Other top album picks from Janet are The Johnnys' Rock - "A generous offering of the Thinking Man’s Metal Music" and Patrica Cano, Songs from Tomson Highway’s the (post) Mistress, for her "sultry vocals with perfect pitch."

Anishinaabe broadcast journalist and writer Waubgeshig Rice just posted his Top 10 albums of the year, which includes the doomcore metal grind of Biipiigwan's Something for Everyone; Nothing for Anyone, and Leonard Sumner’s Rez Poetrywhich Rice praised as "a riveting portrayal of the unique struggles and triumphs of Anishinaabe people. It’s the album I’ve been waiting my whole life to hear."

The other Wab (Wabanakwut Kinew, that is), also picked Sumner's Rez Poetry along with Inez Jasper, Winnipeg Boyz, and powwow group North Bear as some of his favourites. Anishinaabe musician, scholar and organizer Melody McKiver listed some interesting additions, including Northern Voice's "Dance of the Moon" and shouted-out the Aboriginal 'Australian' MC K-Otic One's righteous hip-hop compilation the "Idle No More (Invasion Day)" mixtape.

Indigenous Waves radio host Susan Blight echoed many of our choices, and also shouted-out the latest from Quese IMC "Handdrum" for bringing "it all back to the roots; the importance of the sacred fire, the ceremonies, and the sound of the drum" and a unique collab between Just Jamaal and Lena Recollet "What's It All About" that was "released in solidarity with Idle No More--referencing broken treaties, environmental racism, and issuing a call for resistance all over slick production from Hyf the GypsySun".

And, of course, a certain Polaris Prize-nominated Indigenous crew seemed to pop up everywhere we turned and at the very top of everyone's 'Best of' list. But more on that later.

Shout-outs to these stellar releases:

K-otic 1 - "Idle No More Invasion Day Mixtape" PozLyrix - "Chicago Native" Impossible Nothing - "Alchemy" Derek Miller - "Blues, Vol. 1" Tara Williamson - "Lie Low" Rebel Diaz - "Radical Dilemma" The Johnnys - "Rock" Inez Jasper - "Burn Me Down" Kinnie Starr - "Kiss It" Eden Fine day - "Things Get Better" Fawn and Dallas - "Blessings"

The Top 10 Indigenous Albums of 2013


10. Frank Waln - "Born Ready EP"

Ascending to the hip-hop pedestal with a calm, collected confidence and wisdom beyond his years, Lakota MC Frank Waln turned the heads of almost everyone this fall when he dropped the powerhouse video for his NDN rap anthem "AbOriginal". With its massive "when I rise / you rise" hook, overflowing lyrical pride, and his obvious love for his people and nation, Waln brought some much-needed realness and a refreshing dose of youthful warriorism back into the Indigenous hip-hop game. Oh and The 1491s' Dallas Goldtooth directed a video for him. And did we mention that Waln composed, recorded and mixed all the tracks himself? And that he writes honorific rap dedications to his mother and grandmother? Yeah, good luck to the rest of you. Frank Waln is walking the talk. And raising the bar. Listen/download:

9. Cris Derksen - "The Collapse"

A now-ubiquitous fixture on the contemporary Indigenous music scene, Métis musician Cris Derksen's soaring cello melodies and effects-laden staccato bursts, beats and wailing cries, are a haunting, soaring, cinematic soundtrack to our peoples' burgeoning resurgence that give you chills and the increasing sense of possibility that so much is yet to come... Highly recommended. Listen/Download:

8. Kristi Lane Sinclair - "The Sea Alone"

Speaking of Cris Derksen, you can hear her cello stylings on Haida singer Kristi Lane Sinclair's latest grunge-folk album that, as its title invites, carries you across waves of solitude, heartache, reflection, fierceness and vulnerability.  Kristi’s voice ranges from a low growl to a sultry spell (including one of the best musical deliveries of the f-bomb in recent memory) and her style is not for the faint of heart, which is to say there is a frankness, darkness and richness on The Sea Alone that pulls you deeper into her world with each listen. Dive in. Listen/Download:

7. Shining Soul - “Sonic Smash”

Shining Soul burst onto our playlists with their commanding album Sonic Smash just in time to make an appearance on the #NationHood Mixtape with their lead-off single "Get Up". But the whole album goes deep with soulful hip-hop anthems that strike back against oppression wherever they find it and find root in the strength and vitality of their creative expression. Listen/download:

6. Tall Paul - “Birthday Present EP”

The remarkably consistent Anishinaabe MC from the Twin Cities, Tall Paul, keeps up his stellar record of releases with a head-knocking EP of assured, intelligent hip-hop that made its place on the list just for the standout storytelling track, "Taurus the Bull" (ft. $kywalker). The rest of the record rocks too. This is everyday rap responding to the real highs and lows of trying to survive and thrive in the game. And judging by the sounds of it, the struggle is in good hands. Tall Paul's got bars and keeps it moving, one beat at a time. Listen/Download:

5. City Natives - “4 Kingz”

The dynamic mic skills and boom bap-inflected east coast production of rising hip-hop stars City Natives bangs all the way through. Barely a year into their collaboration as a crew, City Natives brings together the multi-talented forces of Beaatz, IllFundz, Gearl, and BnE, like a young Native rap Voltron. Featuring incredible beat production from Juliano, the pass and trade flows of this crew sounds hungry for respect, recognition, and social change in equal parts. If this is just the beginning, there's no limit to where things can go from here. Listen/Download:

4. Leonard Sumner - "Rez Poetry"

Speaking of realness, you just can't get around the raw authenticity of Anishinaabe singer-songwriter Leonard Sumner. Landing right near the top of almost everyone's year-end list, Rez Poetry, offers a clear-eyed personal take on choices and consequences, struggles and love, and the complexities of contemporary Indigenous life—all spun through Sumner's unique brand of Native roots music that is deeply infused with acoustic guitar hymns, hip-hop rhythms and cadences, and just enough country and rhythm & blues to rep the urban, rez, and everywhere-in-between Indians with equal power. Tune in, kick back, and dream of that open, prairie sky. Listen/download:

3. Leanne Simpson - "Islands of Decolonial Love"

Bridging many worlds, storylines, generations, and forms of creativity with effortless poetics and heartbreaking, deceptive simplicity, Leanne Simpson was the only Anishinaabekwe that we know of who dropped a full-volume of published stories and poetry in tandem with a collaboratively composed album of the same, set to the expansive sonics of many of Indian Country's rising stars (including Tara Williamson, Cris Derksen, A Tribe Called Red, and Melody McKiver). Halfway between story, song, and verse, Simpson's poems flow through you like long-forgotten dreams suddenly remembered. Inspiring, strong and swift, these are the currents of sound that surround each island of decolonial love. All that, and it's available digitally and as a beautifully bright orange analog cassette release. So go dig up that tape player from the basement and rewind into Simpson's hypnotic spell. Listen/download:

2. Samantha Crain - "Kid Face"

Choctaw singer Samantha Crain is three albums deep, at twenty-seven years young, and her music already echoes and twists through generations of greatness. With her urgent, accomplished and irresistible craft on its finest display to date, Kid Face offers up Crain's melancholy-infused melodic brand of Americana with a suite of songs that navigate pain, love, loss and growth with an aching resonance of unvarnished truth. Samantha Crain is the real deal. The rest are just pale imitations. Listen/download:

1. A Tribe Called Red - “Nation II Nation”

What other praise can be given to our brothers from ATCR that hasn't already been said? Since dropping their plaintive instrumental "The Road" exactly one year ago today, in honour of Chief Theresa Spence and the Idle No More movement, A Tribe Called Red has continued their stratospheric rise from the booming dancefloors of the electric pow-wow to the forefront of the world's musical consciousness. Seemingly overturning every false colonial conception about being Indian in the 21st century with each kinetic set of party-rocking, this three DJ crew blows the roof off everywhere they go, while always reppin' for the people. With their second full-length album, Nation II Nation, ATCR single-handedly dropped the revolutionary soundtrack that we all knew we needed, while elevating and expanding the possibilities of contemporary Indigenous music culture and pushing their electronic/Indigenous aesthetic hybrid forms to new heights and levels of power. Raise your fist up and get ready. The Tribe stands with us—as we rise together. Listen/Download:

 STREAM: The Best Indigenous Music of 2013

#Revolution2: RPM is Back!


Did you miss us? It's been a revolutionary minute since we last hit you with a good dose of Indigenous Music Culture. But we're happy to let you know that RPM is back!

The crew has been busy since the winter working on music, touring, songwriting, media arts, land-based education, political organizing and a host of other arts, decolonizing and resurgence projects—all the while planning to get back online to bring you the best Indigenous music from across Turtle Island and around the world.

From the #RoundDanceRevolution to Idle No More to the Indigenous Nationhood Movement, we've been deeply inspired by everything happening in Indian Country, and we're happy to be back up and running with new music, reviews, interviews and artist features.

To kick things off, we have the #NationHood Mixtape—a global compilation of Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists' music in support of oppressed peoples' struggles for liberation; a review of Tara Williamson's new EP, Lie Low, from Leanne Betasamosake Simpson; a report on the recent New Zealand Music Awards and the winner for Best Maori Album, Maisey Rika; and an interview with Phoenix hip-hop duo Shining Soul!

We've got lots more in the works but for now, enjoy the new music. Thanks for your patience and support of RPM—and please share the good news on all your channels.

It's time for #Revolution2. Let's go.


Music & Idle No More: RPM on CBC's The Current


On today's edition of The Current, three members of the RPM crew spoke with guest host Duncan McCue about music and the Idle No More revolution.

"Does every revolution have a soundtrack?". We know it does—and it was an honour to discuss RPM, revolution, music along with the recent release of our Songs for Life compilations: Volume 1 and Volume 2.

LISTEN: Stream the panel discussion on CBC here.

Idle No More: Does Every Revolution have a Soundtrack? - January 25, 2013

The ideas of the Idle No More protests may nor may not catch on, but some of the music it's inspired is already part of a new aboriginal songbook. With Idle No More protesters calling for a Global Day of Action on Monday to mark the return of the House of Commons, we chat with three Indigenous artists behind the Idle No More soundtrack.


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. 

VIDEO: Drezus - "Red Winter"


Drezus's new video Red Winter has been quickly racking up views on YouTube since he dropped it on January 11th.

After releasing the new song on December 25th, Drezus began fundraising for an official video and remarkably pulled together the funds and resources to produce and release it less than three weeks later.

Drezus's words for the #IdleNoMore movement are passionate, articulate, and powerful (after watching the video read the lyrics below) and his own dedication and embodiment of the message is palpable. "I've invested... my heart and my drive to represent my people for once in my life. This Red Winter song is special to me... it's for us by us" the Winnipeg-based artist wrote on Facebook.

With director Cowboy Smithx, produced by Drezus Music, Eccentricus Imagery and 4K Film Production, and a long list of crew and community that made it happen, the video dropped on January 11th, the global day of action. The views have been stacking up since, the word has been spreading. Watch, listen and share Red Winter, by Drezus:

Red Winter: Lyrics

Verse 1

My skins red, I bleed red, I'm seeing red/ I'm praying for my people out there who haven't seen it yet/ His blood is cold, tellin lies forever told/ By his ancestors 500 years ago/ Yeah I said it, got my people getting restless/ Making money off our land and we aint even on the guestlist/ Carry on traditions of a racist ass pilgrim/ And I know you really love it when my people play the victim/ 'Cause it makes it seem like we're folding under pressure/ But we're up to bat now no more playing catcher/ 'Cause we see the bigger the picture that we have to capture/ See how quick we get together? We out to get ya!

Chorus 1

You can lock us in jail and throw away the key Take away my rights but you ain't stopping me 'Cause I been quiet for too long its time to speak We got to stand for something to keep us free! I'm Idle no more I'm Idle no more I'm Idle no more Yeah I'm Idle no more!

Verse 2

I'm getting aggravated, my people saying chill/ I feel my heart breaking, but i don't need your pills/ I need my people strong, with hearts of many men/ He letting women die outside of the parliament?!/ Opposition's only siding for their benefit/ The only ones we really got is us and it's so evident/ Before you take a stand! Remember to get educated/ Once you understand the message go and share it with your neighbors/ Basically, We're getting taken hostage for our land/ 'Til they sell it out for profit now they got the upper hand/ But! Trust me we can stop it I'm thanking the four sisters/ Dear Mr Harper we all coming to get ya!/ And we won't stop for nothing we're bringing all of our cousins/ And we're getting educated so the fighting ain't for nothing/ Stand up! for your people our time for power is coming/ I'm a full blooded native believe me I'm proud of it!/

Chorus 2

(speech by aaron paquette)

Wab Kinew Brings the Flash Mob 'Round Dance Revolution' to Strombo


Everyone's favourite 8th Fire heartthrob, Wab Kinew, surprised George Stroumboulopoulos and his CBC television studio audience—while making all of Indian Country proud—when he led a spontaneous flash mob round dance Thursday night, during an interview taping on George Tonight.

Impeccably clad in a dark grey Mad Men-styled suit, and singing a cappella while clapping out the beat instead of using a hand drum, Wab brought the #IdleNoMore round dance revolution into the living rooms and hearts of Canadians in all the right ways.

Posting photos and video on Instagram and Twitter after the taping, he added: "Let's share the beauty of our culture in a positive way. Miigwetch everyone!"

We couldn't agree more.

Here's the video. And what a great choice of song. Aho!

Wab Kinew Flash Mob Round Dance on Strombo - Jan 17, 2013

Now this is a rare moment in Canadian television. Wab Kinew is a First Nations leader and the Director of Indigenous Inclusion at the University of Winnipeg.

While he was in the red chair last night, Wab surprised the audience (and the crew!) by orchestrating an impromptu flash mob round dance in studio.

Catch the full interview with Wab on Monday, January 21st. He'll talk to George about 'Idle No More' and how all Canadians are treaty people.

Here's what Wab had to say about the round dance:

"You guys want to do a flash mob round dance?

This is what it's all about. It's been one of the most popular tactics of Idle No More and what it is, is a traditional dance, a friendship dance. So it's just about showing off our culture. So I notice I have a few sisters in the house today. Would you guys like to help show our non-indigenous brothers and sisters here how to do the round dance?"


STREAM: Cris Derksen - "Our Home on Native Land"


#SoundtrackTheStruggle continues with this new track from electro-cellist Cris Derksen.

Half-Cree electro-cellist Cris Derksen continually experiments and creates with her instrument (the cello), electronics (especially the loop pedal), the addition of a live drummer, and her voice. Here her impassioned declaration of our home on Native land will ring through your heart and feet and across Turtle Island. #IdleNoMore.

STREAM: Cris Derksen - "Our Home on Native Land"

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!

DOWNLOAD: Derek Miller - "7 Lifetimes"


Artists are rapidly giving voice to the #IdleNoMore movement in word, dance and song and we're sharing the latest sounds from Indian Country's finest. But it's not just round dances anymore.

Today we #SoundtrackTheStruggle with Mohawk blues rocker Derek Miller, who released a song that he wrote and recorded for Attawapiskat First Nation Chief Theresa Spence.

At the time of press, tomorrow will be Day 19 of Chief Spence's hunger strike. She pledges to continue until PM Harper agrees to meet with her.

Artists, send us your contributions and we'll continue to broadcast the revolution and #SoundtracktheStruggle.

DOWNLOAD: Derek Miller - "7 Lifetimes"

DOWNLOAD: A Tribe Called Red - "The Road"


Late last night, on the eve before one of the biggest Indigenous mobilizations in history, A Tribe Called Red quietly released a new song, The Road, inspired by the Idle No More movement and the hunger strike of Attawapiskat Chief Theresa Spence.

The moody, minimal electronic track incorporates some of the traditional drumming and singing elements that ATCR have used in the past for their more dancefloor-oriented powwow step bangers. But this is something else.

The Road feels like the calm before the storm. A slow-building soundtrack for the dawning of a new era. With prayers and strength to Chief Spence, we give to you the sound of our people rising up and taking our spirits back.

DOWNLOAD: A Tribe Called Red - "The Road"