First Play Live

First Play Live: nêhiyawak, nipiy

Watch the Edmonton trio perform songs from its debut album.

Watch the Edmonton trio perform songs from its debut album

nêhiyawak - in Studio 211 performing from nipiy

The trio nêhiyawak formed in 2017 in amiskwaciy  which you might also know as Edmonton  on Treaty 6 territory, when drummer Marek Tyler returned home after 12 years of being away. 

While nêhiyawak's music is made up of driving beats, spacious, contemplative tempos and jarring, percussive guitars, Tyler, along with lead singer Kris Harper and keyboardist Matthew Cardinal, combine those modern sounds with their traditional storytelling for a kind of indie rock we've never heard before.

"It's a way to get Indigenous words and ideas into people's mouths and minds that maybe they wouldn't otherwise hear those ideas," says Cardinal, of the band. Harper adds that they have "really tried to interpret a lot of European music history in what we're doing," through which, Tyler adds, "it's a process of learning, it's a process of reconnecting, it's a process of listening, and it's a process of just being aware that it's more than just a band."

The collection of songs on the trio's debut album, nipiy — which means "water" in Cree  flows through feelings of belonging, of reclaiming identity, and of sorrow, in songs about residential schools, "starlight tours" and missing and murdered indigenous women and girls.

Watch the full concert below or listen here as nêhiyawak rock out to songs from nipiy.

nêhiyawak perform songs from their new album 'nipiy' live in studio 211. 47:16
nêhiyawak perform "somnabulist" First Play Live. 3:15
nêhiyawak perform "somnabulist" First Play Live. 3:15
nêhiyawak perform "secret" for CBC Music's First Play Live. 5:16