Jeremy Dutcher, Moe Clark, Joey Stylez and more headline Indigenous awards show
Everything you need to know about the 2019 Indspire Awards' musical performers
The 2019 Indspire Awards show features performances by some of the most exciting emerging and established Indigenous musicians across Turtle Island.
From contemporary musical genius Jeremy Dutcher and acclaimed multidisciplinary artist Moe Clark to revered iconic acts Redbone and the Northern Cree Singers, the Indspire Awards show is a unique opportunity to celebrate artists alongside a variety of exceptional people.
Since its inception, Indspire — a registered charity that focuses on investing in Indigenous education and achievement — has honoured more than 360 leaders, innovators and inspirational successes from Indigenous, Inuit and Métis communities. From artists to educators, athletes to scientists, entrepreneurs to politicians, activists to philanthropists and elders to youth, the Indspire Awards cast a wide, inclusive net to highlight a vast array of fascinating, phenomenal people.
Ahead of the Indspire Awards broadcast on Sunday, June 23 (8 p.m. local time on CBC-TV, Radio One and via the CBC Gem streaming service), CBC Music has composed this handy guide to all of the show's musical performers.
Who: Jeremy Dutcher
From: Tobique First Nation, N.B.
Why you should know them: While Dutcher's incredible debut album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, won the 2018 Polaris Music Prize, it was also a groundbreaking record that not only utilized archival recordings of his native Wolastoq (Maliseet), but presented those recordings in conversation with his own operatic tenor amidst classical arrangements that also interspersed pop, electronic, jazz and traditional influences. Dutcher is a performer, composer, activist, musicologist, fashion leader and Two-Spirit icon in the making.
From: Los Angeles, Calif.
Why you should know them: The rock group originated with brothers Pat and Lolly Vasquez-Vegas, who are of Yaqui, Shoshone and Mexican descent. They hit it big with their 1974 single, "Come and Get Your Love," a fantastic tune that still holds up to this day. Lolly died in 2010, but Pat continues to tour Redbone and his son, PJ, and daughter Frankie are both listed as vocalists. Pat was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award at the Indigenous Music Awards in 2018.
Who: Northern Cree Singers
From: Maskwacis, Alta.
Why you should know them: The multi-Grammy-nominated powwow and Round Dance drum and singing group are considered one of the best contemporary Indigenous music groups in the world. The group was co-founded by brothers Charlie and Earl Wood, from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation, and is comprised of members who mostly reside in the Treaty 6 area. The group performed live at the Grammys in 2017, including a stunning rendition of "Cree Cuttin'," then as supporting musicians for Mexican indie-pop singer-songwriter Carla Morrison.
Who: Moe Clark
Why you should know them: Moe Clark is an award-winning, multidisciplinary Métis artist and performer, looping pedal musician, spoken-word poet, educator, artistic producer, public speaker, activist and singer. She's the artistic director of nistamîkwan, a "performing and transformational arts organization" with a stated mission to bridge "Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists with community through inclusive creative projects."
Who: Joey Stylez
From: Saskatoon (originally); now Haida Gwaii, B.C.
Why you should know them: The First Nations-Métis hip-hop/rock/pop artist has spent almost 20 years cultivating a career in music and the arts. He experiments with genre and form, pushing, blurring and rearranging boundaries as he sees fit, and continues to release albums that defy expectations (his 2009 record, The Blackstar, won best pop album from the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards while his 2017 album, #GREYMAGIC, won him best hip-hop album at the Indigenous Music Awards). Joey Stylez released a new song in April called "2 Die 4" and in the video description promises a "3 Eye Hip" album is "coming soon."
Who: Derek Miller
From: Six Nations of the Grand River, Ont.
Why you should know them: For more than two decades, Derek Miller has been one of the hardest working blues and rock guitarists in the world, and no one really describes his appeal better than his biggest fan, Iggy Pop. Yes, punk legend Iggy Pop, who in 2016 told the London Free Press: "I also just found out about Derek Miller, and the guy blew my mind. Unbelievable, you know? F--k! What a f--king talent! Whoa! What a vibe. And it's pure. He's not copping from any particular current craze. And I also just found out about the Sadies. Which is way different, and way more considered, and that's really good, too. But I really like Derek Miller, dude. Like, what the f--k? Who rocks like that anymore? Period. He can really bloody do it."
Who: Carsen Gray
From: Haida Gwaii, BC; now, Vancouver, BC
Why you should know them: Pop-soul singer-songwriter Carsen Gray is an emerging artist whose self-titled debut album earned her the award for best new artist at the Indigenous Music Awards in 2017. But she's actually been in the entertainment industry a lot longer than that: Grey played Tiger Lily in the 2003 film Peter Pan, and when she was 11 years old, she began singing jazz standards at a Vancouver restaurant. Grey has also collaborated with fellow Indspire Awards performer Joey Stylez as well as DJ Shub.
Who: Wolf Saga
From: London, Ont.
Why you should know them: Wolf Saga, the electro-pop project from Anishinaabe musician Johnny Saga, brings the '80s into the present day in a burst of dreamy delight and hazy, golden goodness. He's won numerous contests with his music, and collaborated with songwriters and musicians as far away as Australia. He's also racked up millions of listens and views on streaming platforms and YouTube. With just one EP to his credit, 2015's Auburn Nights, and a First Play Live session with CBC Music in 2017, it seems like new music could arrive any day now.