Native Village Youth and Education News

May 1, 2009 Issue 198
Volume 4

First nations music will ring out to the world
By Jeff Lee
Condensed by Native Village

British Columbia: For more than 100 years, Christian priests banned Inuit women from throat-singing. The ancient, guttural, rhythmic duets were in danger of being forgotten. But thanks to the help of the Four Host First Nations, throat-singing and other native songs are ringing out out all over the world.

FHFN is uploading many music files people can download as ring tones for mobile phones.  And it's not just Inuit songs that are available --  Metis fiddle jigs, British Columbia First Nations' drums, Cree ceremonial songs, and even modern aboriginal blues and rock and roll can be heard.  The idea is to bridge the divide between the traditions of first people and youth.

"You have to remember that 60 per cent of aboriginal population in Canada is under the age of 30," said Tewanee Joseph, executive director of the FHFN. "What we want to do is drive pride in our culture, and this is one way of doing it."

The music of Canada's aboriginal peoples is not easy to come by. Distribution is small; many musicians resort to selling their CDs one by one at community hall functions.  "About the only way to get aboriginal music is out of the trunk of someone's car," Joseph said.

By 2010, Joseph expects upwards of 100 songs will have been recorded and installed on the FHFN website.  The downloads will also be available on YouTube and Facebook.

Joseph also wants to develop ring tones featuring aboriginal comedians. "Indians have a great sense of humour. We're looking to feature some of the 'Indianisms'  if you want to call them that. We want to be playful with these."

The Four Host First Nations are the Musqueam, Squamish, Lil'wat and Tsleil-Waututh. A decade ago, they set aside competing land claims to work together in support of the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympic Games. The Games will be held on the bands' traditional lands.

Listen to the ringtones:




Background: Robert Kaufman Fabrics:

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