Aboriginal Music Week aims to expand fan base by growing youth audience

Indigenous artists from across Turtle Island, Australia and New Zealand hit stages around Winnipeg for free shows Aug. 18-22.

10 to watch at Aboriginal Music Week

24 year-old Mariame Hasni launched her debut CD Bloom this last spring. (N'we Jinan )

Aboriginal Music Week kicked off in Winnipeg yesterday. This is the seventh year for the annual festival that draws Indigenous musicians from across North America, New Zealand and Australia to the centre of Indigenous music in Canada. 

"The main goal of Aboriginal Music Week is to develop aboriginal youth as an audience for live music," says chairperson Alan Greyeyes. 

In past years the festival has brought in acts like A Tribe Called Red, Derek Miller, Digging Roots, Cris Derksen and Kinnie Starr. 

According to the festival's news release, evening programming has been re-focused this year and the festival will provide networking opportunities for performers along with smaller ticketed shows for local movers and shakers.

Several of the free shows will be put on in 'less advantaged neighbourhoods' that will allow families to walk to the venues, says Greyeyes. 

For musicians like country rocker Leanne Goose, performing at Aboriginal Music Week is "an opportunity to visit, learn from and ask questions of legends like Winston Wuttunee, Billy Joe Green and C-Weed."

Here is a play list of ten of the more than 35 artists who will be performing as part of Aboriginal Music Week:


Kim Wheeler is an Anishinabe/Mohawk. She is a writer and an award-winning producer living in Winnipeg. Her work on the CBC radio series ReVision Quest garnered a New York Festival silver medal and two ImagineNative awards. Wheeler currently works as an associate producer for the CBC Aboriginal Digital Unit and Unreserved on CBC Radio One.