Today sees the eighth time that Orange Shirt day, created to promote awareness in Canada about the Indian residential school system and the impact it has had on Indigenous communities, is being marked. With this in mind, I thought I should have a look at some of the musicians who’s art was informed by these events, either directly or not.
Bryden Gwiss Kiwenzie is a Pow-Wow singer/song maker and Men’s Traditional Dancer. He has grown up on the Pow-Wow Trail learning songs, drum teachings and has been dancing Mens Traditional Style for 30 years. He is Originally from Neyaashiinigaming (Cape Croker) but currently residing in Sudbury, Ontario. He works at Shkagamik Kwe Health Centre in Sudbury giving drum teachings to the youth about proper drum etiquette and pow wow songs.
Bryden was also nominated for a Juno, Indigenous Album Of The Year 2017, on his debut album release entitled Round Dance & Beats. Which fuses Traditional pow wow songs with modern hip hop production. He has also been nominated for Best Hand Drum Album and Best New Artist at the Indigenous Music Awards held in Winnipeg May 19, 2017.
Now recording as Gwiss Kiwenzie he has recently released his sophomore album in the form of The Forgotten T.R.U.T.H. (The.Real.Un.Told.History)
The albums title track tells the story of growing up on the Neyaashiinigmiing reserve, tackling issues including residential schools and the Sixties Scoop.
Kiwenzie’s grandfather was sent to a residential school and was “afraid” to speak his Ojibway language, Kiwenzie said. His parents were proud of being Indigenous and made sure he was exposed to his language and traditions.
For further info check out Vicki Gilhula’s report over at sudbury.com