Across the world, oppressed peoples have often turned to music as a way of giving egress to their emotions, as well as a means of expressing the joy that finds itself trapped between layers of pain.
More recently in human history, oppressed peoples have come to use music as a means to disseminate a core message about their plight to those who are unaware. And perhaps no genres of music exemplify this better than rap and hip-hop. Born out of the African-American ghetto experience of the 1970s, hip-hop has now become the primary musical vehicle for many to get their point across – whether it be soldiers illuminating the horror of post-traumatic stress disorder, the Vatican attempting to bring new young believers into the fold – or, as in the case of the artists we'll hear tonight on Canada Live, young First Nations artists painting a picture for us of contemporary Aboriginal life.
Take A Tribe Called Red, for example. This Ottawa-based DJ trio turns heads and fills dance floors with their infectious blend of dubstep, electronica and samples of traditional Aboriginal music. But in case you think it's all just fun and beats with an Aboriginal twist, listen to "Woodcarver."
A Tribe Called Red uses actual samples from newscasts, detailing the troubling story of John T. Williams, the homeless woodcarver shot and killed by Seattle police officer Ian Birk. The juxtaposition of the newscast sampled with carefully crafted beats comes off as hard-hitting as anything generated by Public Enemy in its heyday.
A Tribe Called Red, Daybi, Rise Ashen and Flying Down Thunder and Digging Roots are the four acts we feature on the National Aboriginal Day edition of Canada Live. Here they perform at Beat Tradtion, a concert that took place this March in Ottawa. Each act, in its own way, delivers the modern-day Aboriginal message. As they continue to innovate musically, the message continues to find new ears. See if yours are but two of them.
CBC Music honours indigenous artists on National Aboriginal Day
Beat Tradition: A Tribe Called Red
Beat Tradition: Daybi
Beat Tradition: Digging Roots
More music from Aboriginal Canada on CBC Music
on Jun 20, 2012