Trailblazing electronical First Nation group
“We are the Halluci Nation”. The title of the last album from the Ottawa group A Tribe Called Red sets the tone for their engaging performances, where drums, dance and song from the powwow musical heritage meets contemporary pop and hip hop. They are building something new here, new ways of thinking about indigenous people in urban environments. ATCR explores their First Nations heritage in different ways through their music.
They are not alone in this – in Canada, different indigenous groups have joined together in the movement Idle No More, who seeks to make the struggles of these groups more visible. It is also natural to view the innovations of ATCR in connection with the burgeoning activity in both experimental and traditional sami music in Norway. These scenes combine a renewed interest for the heritage and history with the realization that traditional forms can change, adapt and find new air in which to breathe. Most strongly, perhaps, in different kinds of electronic music.
ATCR play around with different historical stereotypes connected to Northern American indigenous people – sadly, they do not lack examples to build on. But they find new contexts for these distorted images, both through their music and their dancing, central to their live performances. Their concerts have become an institution on the Canadian live scene, and they have had great success at festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and AfroPunk. They became the first band with indigenous background to win the newcomer award at Canadas Grammy equivalent, the Juno Awards. They have experienced a success that few, if any, other First Nation artists have, making them trailblazers, expanding possibilities for indigenous music from all around the globe.