North·Audio

Musicians of the Midnight Sun: Kevin Mackie

In Episode 3 of Musicians of the Midnight Sun, series producer Pat Braden speaks with Kevin Mackie, a drummer who has played with many of Yellowknife's longstanding bands.

Mackie is a founding member of UM Squared and has played drums for many of Yellowknife's longstanding bands

Kevin Mackie, centre, was one of the founding members of UM Squared (The Universal Music Machine), a band that played in Yellowknife for years. (Submitted by Pat Braden)

Musicians of the Midnight Sun is a new 10-part CBC radio series produced by Northern musical icon Pat Braden. Braden has spent 15 years collecting interviews, photographs, and recordings from some of the North's most celebrated artists, which he is releasing in an online archive.

A new episode of the 10-part series airs on CBC Radio One's The Trailbreaker every Tuesday morning at 7:40 MT.


In Episode 3 of Musicians of the Midnight Sun, Pat Braden speaks with Kevin Mackie, drummer and founder of the UM Squared (The Universal Music Machine), born and raised in K'atl'odeeche (Hay River). 6:38

Listen to Episode 3 of Musicians of the Midnight Sun.

Kevin Mackie, the drummer and a founding member of UM Squared (The Universal Music Machine) has played the drums for many of Yellowknife's longstanding bands, himself becoming an institution in the city's music scene.  

Mackie is the third musician profiled by the new CBC radio series Musicians of the Midnight Sun.

Kevin Mackie was a founding member of UM Squared (The Universal Music Machine). He says he played drums because he wasn't a good enough guitar player. (Submitted by Pat Braden)

In his interview with series producer Pat Braden, Mackie reflects on growing up in K'atl'odeeche (Hay River), buying his first set of drums and playing with other legendary Northern musicians.

"I wanted to play guitar, but I was never good enough," Mackie says. "I accidentally went to a practice and they needed a drummer … so I said 'I'll try, let me sit back there.' Anyways, I got a job."   

He began playing music in Hay River in 1965, but moved to Yellowknife in 1968 where he attended high school  and boarded at Akaitcho Hall until 1971. While at Akaitcho Hall, Mackie formed bands with other students and started playing gigs around Yellowknife. 

"We always seemed to connect somewhere on a stage. It's nice because you have lifelong friendships that we got from living in that hostel," Mackie said.   

You can listen to Pat Braden's full interview with Mackie and see photos from then and now on the project's website.

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