Manitoba

Wasagamack kids ready to make music — but first, they need instruments

Like many Manitoba youngsters, kids in Wasagamack First Nation are hoping to hole up with an instrument and learn to play music this winter. The problem is, they don't have instruments to play with.

Program gets inaugural donations from Manitoba musician

Racine’s donations — including a bass guitar, an amp, a set of drums, a microphone stand, a music stand and a tambourine — will be delivered by winter road in January. (Submitted/Tom Racine)

Like many Manitoba youngsters, kids in Wasagamack First Nation are hoping to hole up with an instrument and learn to play music this winter. 

The problem is, they don't have instruments to play with.

But Island Lake First Nations family services is trying to help the northern Manitoba kids realize their musical dreams through a new music program called Nana Noo Eeschi Kee, which in English translates to "I want to do something." 

The program was born out of the kids' own desires to learn music.

"They told us 'I want to do something.' So I said we can do this," said Philip Paul-Martin, a spokesperson for Island Lake First Nations Family Services.

The program recently received its first donation from local musician Tom Racine.

"I would just like them to be inspired," said Racine. "Who knows where it will take them. There's a lot of potential once they have an instrument in their hands."

Racine's donations includes a bass guitar, an amp, a set of drums, a microphone stand, a music stand and a tambourine. His donations will be delivered by winter road in January.
Manitoba musician Tom Racine stepped up to donate instruments to kids in Wasagamack First Nation. (Submitted/Tom Racine)

Racine grew up in a family of seven with a single mother who encouraged her kids to pick up and learn an instrument. He chose the guitar and has played it for a lifetime. He hopes to pass on that love of music to the children in the North and wants others to donate instruments to help create a music room.

"I've watched music touch so many people's souls. And when elders see little children play instruments it will touch their hearts," said Racine.

Prospective donors can drop off instruments at Unit 103, 1821 Wellington Ave. in Winnipeg, or call Island Lake Family Services.

Paul-Martin says the music program is not looking for monetary donations, only instruments — new or used.

Once they have the instruments, they plan to search for teachers and raise funds to build a hip-hop recording studio. So far they only have one teacher in the North who can teach music.

But regardless of the obstacles, Tom Racine dreams big.

"Who knows, maybe the next Jimi Hendrix will come out of the North."

With files from Information Radio

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