The Mosquitoz play at The Cube on Sept. 20 (courtesy Marlene Davis)
A lot people don't get to leave their reserves that often, and part of the reason we like to go out there is to inspire young people.
—Darin Anderson, The Mosquitoz
Darin Anderson laughs as he tells the story of how his band, The Mosquitoz, got its name. It was over 13 years ago, but he remembers as if it were yesterday.
"We had no place to rehearse so we ended up outside in this old shack with tons of mosquitoes pouring in," chuckles Anderson. "And the friends that were at our jam jokingly started calling us that."
But when they showed up for their next show, the local bar owner had already heard the story and printed the posters - and The Mosquitoz were born.
The five-piece Aboriginal band plays a mix of originals and classic rock, but has recently experimented with adding traditional fiddle to their lineup. From headlining gigs at bars and socials, to background music at line-dances, they seldom pass up an opportunity to pick up their instruments and play.
"I'd definitely call us grassroots," says Anderson. "We're all self-taught, and we love performing."
Having made music together for nearly a decade and a half, you might expect the group to be getting a bit long in the tooth. But the tight-knit band shows no signs of slowing down.
Because they all hail from small towns and reserves throughout the province, Anderson says it's important for the band to play gigs in remote communities that travelling musicians don't always venture to.
"A lot people don't get to leave their reserves that often," says Anderson. "And part of the reason we like to go out there is to inspire young people."
"I've seen kids grab a guitar and they just shred it up - they sometimes don't even realize the talent they have."
, though, the band will return to Winnipeg to play one of their most important shows to date.
As part of an Aboriginal Music Presenters Summit organized by Manitoba Music, they'll perform at Old Market Square alongside a number of other indigenous bands for an audience of music industry professionals.
Anderson admits that he's nervous to be playing in front of the most important people in the Aboriginal music community.
"We've been waiting for this opportunity for years, and are considering this one of our biggest gigs yet," says Anderson.
"We're hoping it'll extend our road into other communities - and you never know - across Canada."
The Mosquitoz showcase on The Cube stage on Sept. 20 at 9:00 p.m.