Indigenous·Unreserved

Musician Leonard Sumner shares stories of young indigenous life through his music

Leonard Sumner's music is a fusion of hip-hop, country, roots, rhythm and blues. His deeply personal lyrics and rhyme reflect his experiences as a young indigenous person in Canada; an honest message of home, hope and heart.
Hip-hop, folk-influenced musician Leonard Sumner shares stories of culture through his music. (Nadya Kwandibens)

If you haven't heard of Leonard Sumner yet then you need to stop what you're doing and Google him immediately.
Search "Rez Poetry" and put it on your music list. You're welcome!

Leonard's music is a fusion of hip-hop, country, roots, rhythm and blues. His deeply personal lyrics and rhyme reflect his experiences as a young Indigenous person in Canada; an honest message of home, hope and heart.

This up-and coming-poet, singer songwriter and MC is Anishinaabe from Little Saskatchewan First Nation, Manitoba and makes his home in Winnipeg. 

He grew up listening to old school greats like Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash and Waylon Jennings; twangy guitar songs about heartbreak and love that always played on his mama's radio.

Then Leonard discovered his brother's rap and hip-hop collection and began exploring his own beats. In fact, for a short time, he adopted the name Lorenzo because he asserts, 'what kind of hip-hop name is Leonard?' But after teaching himself guitar just eight years ago, Leonard created his unique rez poetry sound; songs and stories, life lessons and philosophies.

Leonard won best new artist at the Indigenous Music Awards last year with his critical and audience acclaimed album "Rez Poetry."

He can also be found inspiring young people at gatherings and stages all over the country as well as becoming a festival favourite including at the Pan Am Games and Toronto's Planet IndigenUS in August. 

Leonard Sumner joins me, Rosanna Deerchild, on Unreserved to talk about how he found his song and why he says music is his medicine.

Tune in to Unreserved on CBC Radio One after the 5 p.m. news in Manitoba, Saskatchewan and Nunavut, and after the 4 p.m. news in Yukon and the N.W.T. for more artists performing during the Pan Am Games.

You can also listen on demand right here.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Rosanna Deerchild is the host of Unreserved on CBC Radio One. She's an award-winning Cree author and has been a broadcaster for almost 20 years — including stints with APTN, CBC Radio, Global and a variety of indigenous newspapers. She hails from O-Pipon-Na-Piwan Cree Nation, Man.

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