Canadian band brings their politically-charged music to Saskatchewan

Katie Stelmanis sees performing as a platform and an opportunity to make her voice heard.

Austra performs Saturday at Saskatoon's Capitol Music Club

Singer-songwriter Katie Stelmanis of the band Austra.

Katie Stelmanis sees performing as a platform and an opportunity to make her voice heard.

Stelmanis is the front person for the band Austra. Their latest album, Future Politics, provides a social commentary on the political world, gender politics and the environment.

"We're just in a time where it's kind of impossible not to have an opinion or something to say about what's going on," said Stelmanis.

Stelmanis said reading Naomi Klein's This Changes Everything inspired her interest in politics, economics and the environment.

"From there it kind of spiraled into reading tons about neoliberalism, and eventually spiraling into the world of science fiction and reading specifically about the future," she said.

All these issues came together for her artistically and served as a theme for the record.

Austra's Katie Stelmanis performing in the q studios in Toronto, Ont. (Cathy Irving/CBC)

Creating change

Stelmanis said she hopes her art can have a wider influence to create change, and sees the historical precedent for it doing so. Artists played influential roles in progressive movements in the 60s, and she sees the potential for art stimulating change today.

"I'm more concerned with influencing masses of people to eventually influence government policy, to eventually make huge changes structurally in the way that we organize. The focus should be on thinking as big as possible."

Stelmanis is also turning the wheels of progress herself: the latest album was completely mixed, mastered and engineered by women.

Stelmanis' group Austra is taking their tour to Saskatchewan with a performance in Saskatoon at the Capitol Music Club Saturday night.

With files from CBC Radio One's Saskatchewan Weekend