Cree youth in the James Bay community of Chisasibi are celebrating another milestone as part of a very successful music education project.
This week, they released their first official video, out of what's known as the N'we Jinan Project, for the song I Believe. Their first album N'we Jinan - Eeyou Istchee volume 1 was released on iTunes in May and went to the top of the hip-hop category and number eight overall in Canada.
David Hodges, a hip hop artist and music producer/educator from Montreal, was hired by Cree Nation Youth Council to tour the James Bay communities this past spring to teach song-writing and music-making to Cree youth. The project was wildly successful.
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"It's one of the more popular songs, actually, on the project so we were happy we were able to do that. So yeah, and we had the community. The community came out and helped out," said Hodges.
The video was recorded in the Cree community of Chisasibi, Quebec.
Hodges says the song is about finding your passion and never giving up hope.and is a testament to the hope that the youth of the Cree Nation want to embody through music and the arts.
The youth who performed in the video are Sigoun Wapachee, Christian Monias, Jonathan Louttit, Tyson Spencer, Daryl Spencer and David Hodges.
Many of them had never done anything like this before N'we Jinan, so there were a lot of anxiety about filming the video, according to Hodges.
"It's a little nerve racking sometimes when you have a camera in front of you. You know there's 20 to 30 people just watching.
"At first when we started doing it, the artists were a little nervous but as we kept doing more shots, they became more and more comfortable, more in their zone, in their element. And it worked out well," said Hodges.
Cree Nation Youth Chief, Joshua Iserhoff, says the I Believe video, and the N'we Jinan project, has really had a impact on young people in Eeyou Istchee.
"Cree youth have always been encouraged to show their talents, N'we Jinan is helping our young people to reach the world with their music abilities."