CBC Gem doc spotlights Indigenous indie music scene

Across all genres, in every corner of the province, The Capital Project - My Song is My Name will introduce viewers to the thriving, but often under-exposed, Indigenous indie music scene in New Brunswick.

Original performances and interviews with N.B. artists from a range of musical genres

Samaqani Cocahq appearing in the music documentary The Capital Project - My Song is My Name. (The Capital Project - My Song is My Name.)

A new music documentary from New Brunswick is spotlighting Indigenous musicians from across the province. 

The Capital Project - My Song is My Name features original performances and interviews with nine artists from a range of genres, including traditional music, hip hop, rock, and electronic. The documentary is now streaming on CBC Gem

For Indigenous musicians, drumming is at the heart of music

Judie Acquin-Miksovsky is a Wolastoqey multi-disciplinary artist, educator, and social activist who appears in the film. (The Capital Project - My Song is My Name)

Judie Acquin is one of the musicians interviewed in the film. "When I'm singing with an audience I don't like the word 'perform' because when I am in that moment, I am in ceremony," she says. Acquin shows off her drum during the interview, the only drum she uses. "As a musician, that little tiny drum, it matches the tone of my voice," she says. "That drum is definitely my drum. I don't sing with any other drum."

Acquin says the drum, which mimics a heartbeat, is an important sound. After all, she adds, a mother's heartbeat is the first sound we hear. 

Dawson Sacobie also speaks about the importance of drumming. "The drum is what we call our heartbeat, and when we're at powwows, when we're going through rough times and trying to heal, we have that drum," he says. "Let's all put our heartbeats collectively into that drum."

Sacobie is an electronic musician who performs under the name M3D14. As a kid, he was heavily influenced by Daft Punk. As M3D14 he performs with a TV on his head.

(The Capital Project - My Song is My Name)

His onstage persona helps combat stage fright. "I'm not good with crowds," he says. "Wearing this kind of puts me in my own little world. I'm that character and I don't have to worry about anything, I'm having a blast just playing my own music and being in my own little realm."

Music as a Family Affair

For many artists, music is a family affair. In his interview, world-renowned classical musician Jeremy Dutcher talks about coming from a musical family of four brothers and learning from them. One of his brothers specializes in jazz and classical, while another specializes in traditional chanting. The influences are evident in Dutcher's own career. 

Rapper Shelby Sappier, a former member of City Natives who also goes by Beaatz, shares his interview spotlight with his daughter. "Now that I had my daughter, she's been a big part of my career," he says. "She inspired me to keep pushing, keep doing. Creativity levels are just boosted." 

Shelby Sappier and his daughter Mimi. (The Capital Project - My Song is My Name)

In fact, one of Sappier's most popular songs came from his daughter Mimi's idea to make a beat out of a tune she heard on YouTube. Mimi also loves music; she plays cello, piano, and viola. 

The Capital Project Series

The documentary is part of a larger undertaking, a documentary web series. Portions of The Capital Project have been featured at film festivals, and last year a previous episode aired as part of the Absolutely Canadian series on CBC. You can find that episode streaming on CBC Gem here.

Producer Carr Sappier says this latest episode is unique in that it's the first one entirely focused on Indigenous artists. "I think that this is an important time for Indigenous voices and perspectives to be heard by all Canadians," Sappier says. "The Capital Project – My Song is my Name provides insight into the lives of these artists in an intimate, moving, and uplifting manner."

We're creating works that are speaking from this place. And I think we've been doing it for a while but what has shifted now, I think, is our messages are landing now. I think people are starting to realize that within our languages and within our songs, there's a reckoning that needs to happen in this place.- Jeremy Dutcher

Of the nine musicians profiled in the documentary, director Tim Rayne says, "I know them all on a personal level, and have been a fan on a musical level for years. I am inspired by their talent, determination, and creativity. They make great music."

Watch The Capital Project - My Song is My Name anytime, for free, on CBC Gem.