The power of music: “A Tribe Called Red” looks ahead

a-tribe-called-red-download-album-350x317Ottawa’s own “A Tribe Called Red” keeps moving from strength to strength.

NCPR listeners first met the group and their “electric pow wow” in 2012 coverage from from David Sommerstein, as well as PRI’s The World.

By 2013, the group was drawing notice at larger venues like South by Southwest, as in this description from the Washington Post:

A Tribe Called Red, a visionary trio of DJs from Ottawa, made the dance floor feel like the most ripe setting for discovery in Austin, stacking Native American pow-wow chants over bruising hip-hop beats and sternum-punching bass lines. There wasn’t anything else like it at SXSW. There probably isn’t anything else like it on Earth.

This past Wednesday, long-time Ottawa Citizen music reporter Lynn Saxberg covered a panel discussion, presented as art of “Megaphono” – a festival and music industry conference. Her article includes a short video.

The panel included Tribe’s Deejay NDN (aka Ian Campeau), the group’s manager Guillaume Decouflet and their booking agent Adam Countryman, speaking about ways music can impact society:

Campeau was instrumental in persuading a Nepean football team that its name was racist. “That’s when I had this realization we had a lot of power,” he said. “Once you realize you can change something, it gets really addictive.” His next target? “Ending the oppression of everybody.”

Well, good luck with a modest little goal like that!

Meanwhile, according to the Citizen article:

The master plan for A Tribe Called Red involves an album release on the Pirate’s Blend label in 2016, and breaking even wider in the U.S. With 2017 marking the 150th anniversary of Confederation, “It’s going to be a very important year politically,” Guillaume noted, “because these guys have become one of the voices of aboriginal youth.” Twenty years from now, he predicts they will be a “heritage” band. “Like Rush,” interjected moderator Kwende Kefentse, eliciting much laughter from the audience.

Something to keep an eye on in the years ahead.

Ottawa's own "A Tribe Called Red". Photo by Pat Bolduc

Original members of Ottawa’s own “A Tribe Called Red”: DJ NDN (Ian Campeau), Bear Witness and DJ Shub (Dan General). Photo by Pat Bolduc

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