Aboriginal Music Week brings 4 outdoor shows to North End
Free, outdoor shows designed to get families out to festivals, organizer says
Aboriginal Music Week is bringing indigenous artists to Winnipeg's North End as part of its seventh annual celebration of indigenous musicians.
The festival is hosting four free concerts in the area with the aim of getting young people in the community interested in live music and inspired to make their own.
"We want families to be able to walk to our concerts," said Alan Greyeyes, with Aboriginal Music Canada. "We are really interested in giving a live music experience to families who normally don't get to participate in bigger festivals."
One of the stages is at the Austin Street Festival, run by the North Point Douglas Women's Centre.
Singer-songwriter Ali Fontaine is one of six indigenous performers taking the stage there.
"My dream is to use music as a tool to talk about indigenous issues," said Fontaine.
The 21-year-old woman is from Sagkeeng First Nation, and first played Aboriginal Music Week when she was 16 years old. Now, she's a mentor to younger children for the festival.
"I started off when I was really young, and I always wished I had a mentor like that," she said. "A lot of the kids are really creative, and it was really awesome to see what they came up with."
Fontaine said she looks up to indigenous artists like Buffy Sainte-Marie and the C-Weed Band.
"I really think it's important to demonstrate that within our community, to other aboriginal folks, that excellence exists within our community, within our people," said Greyeyes.
Tara Campbell, a female MC from Saskatoon, came to Winnipeg to perform at the festival.
Campbell spent Friday beading with young people at the festival because she's also a jewelry designer.
"It's a passion of mine, so I feel it's my job to show these kids that they can be passionate too," said Campbell.
She said she wants to see something similar in her city.