bgirl files: a tribe called red

Once you hear it, it makes total sense: a blend of hip-hop, reggae and dub-step, with elements of the traditional dance music of Native American powwows.

It’s powwow step, a powerful, catchy sound that has carried the aboriginal DJ crew A Tribe Called Red from Ottawa, Canada, to sold-out venues worldwide.

“All we really did was match up dance music with dance music,” Ian Campeau, a member of the group, said modestly.

But there’s much more to the rise of A Tribe Called Red, which hasn’t shied away from political issues as Canada wrestles with its brutal treatment of indigenous peoples through history. The three-man crew is part of a new generation of artists who are helping redefine how aboriginal culture is viewed by the wider Canadian public and articulate the need for greater aboriginal self-determination.

A Tribe Called Red has been a vocal supporter of the grass-roots protest movement known as Idle No More, spoken out against an Ottawa-area youth football team called the Redskins (the team decided to drop the name this fall) and denounced fans who showed up in aboriginal headdress at their shows.

“We don’t have a luxury of saying, ‘OK, we’re going to just be a band,’” said Bear Witness, another member of the crew, sipping on a coffee at a Montreal hotel.

“But that’s not who we are,” he said. “We’re indigenous artists. I have moments where I feel weak and I don’t want to have to take this on and carry this kind of weight all the time. But it’s not a choice. It’s reality, and it’s a responsibility.”  read more…

source: al jazerra america

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