At experimental fest X Avant, there's no one way music from any culture is 'supposed' to sound
Bear Witness and the artists he's curated are challenging stereotypes around cultural music
What is music supposed to sound like? The tags we attach to it, like "experimental," are often meant to give us an expectation of how it will speak to us — more culturally specific descriptors like "Indigenous" or "world" perform a similar action.
In this video, CBC Arts correspondent April Aliermo heads to X Avant XIII: The Halluci Nation, the most recent iteration of the Music Gallery's new music festival. Its curator, Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red, makes a strong argument: "There's always some way, even if it's just within the thought process that you're making the music, that there's something of your culture and your connection to your past that's embedded in that music."
Watch the video:
You'll also meet Ziibiwan, Geronimo Inutiq and respectfulchild, some of the musicians busting down stereotypes while they make music that looks way ahead. respectfulchild, who uses a violin in some entirely non-classical ways, says, "I know I don't want to make music that people can point at and say, 'That's an Oriental or an Asian sound,' because whatever I make is going to be Asian art. So this is like — break down that idea and give you a whole new thing to listen to." This is music that pays respect to roots and grows out of them, while grappling with totally new ideas.