Music for National Indigenous Peoples Day at Sled Island

Lido Pimienta performs at Commonwealth Bar & Stage during the Sled Island Music & Arts Festival in Calgary on June 21, 2018, National Indigenous Peoples Day.
© J. Ashley Nixon


National Indigenous Peoples Day in Canada was celebrated on the Summer Solstice, June 21, with a variety of events in Calgary hosted by Sled Island Music & Arts Festival and Arts Commons. The Commonwealth Bar & Stage was the venue for a gig by Lido Pimiento and Guests, presented by CBC Calgary, Indigenous Resilience in Music (IRIM) and Drum Beat.

nêhiyawak, a drums, keys/bass and guitar/vocals trio from amiskwaciy (aka Edmonton) started up the show on the main floor playing indie rock. As the audience thickened, the music progressed to Electronic/Hip-Hop from Mob Bounce and Snotty Nose Rez Kids (SNRK), both comprising singing duos with backing tracks.

Heebz The Earthchild and The Northwest Kid, who are based in Vancouver, have been in action, writing, recording and performing their nicely phrased Alter-Native Hip-Hop with Mob Bounce since 2004.

SNRK draw their musical experiences and name from their upbringing on the Haisla Nation Reserve in Kitimaat Village on the west coast of BC. Their lyrics venture passionately into the politics of indigenous life including current tensions around pipelines through their traditional territory. Their performance included Savages (supported by a third rapper), a song featured on their current album, The Average Savage. This was included in the Polaris Prize long list, one of Canada’s most prestigious music prizes. SNRK also pulled up on stage local Hip-Hop artists Priya and Bhagya Ramesh, who perform as Cartel Madras in Calgary.

Lido Pimienta, the Colombian-Canadian artist who won the Polaris Music Prize in 2017 closed out the evening with a vigorous act of Spanish-language music and theatre interspersed with vivid conversations with the audience about her experiences and perspectives on life. This included songs from her award-winning second album, La Papessa such as En Un Minuto, Fornicarte Es Un Arte and Quiero Jardines.

Please visit J. Ashley Nixon Photography for more images from the Sled Island performances of Lido Pimienta, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Mob Bounce and nêhiyawak.

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