a tribe called red & electric pow wow
June 12, 2012 8:36 PM   Subscribe

Native Appropriations: A Tribe Called Red: Powwow Step and social commentary for the masses - Based in Ottawa, Ontario, "DJs NDN (Nipissing First Nation), Bear Witness (Cayuga), and Shub (Cayuga) are A Tribe Called Red. ATCR creates an eclectic sound made up of a wide variety of musical styles ranging from hip-hop, dancehall, electronic, and their own mash-up of club and pow wow music, known as pow wow step." music videos: Red Skin Girl - Electric Pow Wow Drum - Native Puppy Love - NDNs From All Directions - Pow Wow Riddim streaming audio @ CBC: Pow Wow Step & Powwowzers

"General Generations": An Archival Collaboration with A Tribe Called Red - "The audio... is the result of a collaborative effort between A Tribe Called Red (ATCR) and Ethnomusicology Review (EMR) editor Nolan Warden. ATCR is a DJ collective from Ottawa, Ontario that creates much of their work using video and audio samples related to their Native American heritage. This collaboration involved the use of archival wax cylinder recordings made by Cayuga chief Alexander J. General and anthropologist Frank G. Speck in the 1930s..."

Also see more from Ethnomusicology Review - Notes on the Collaboration with A Tribe Called Red

*soundcloud: electric pow wow mini mix (~14 min.; download here)
*free full album download: electric pow wow
*free EP download: moombah hip moombah hop (five song EP - "mashes up some classic golden-era hip-hop with the dance grooves of moombahton")

*MTVIggy: Q&A With Powwowstep Pioneers A Tribe Called Red
*Revolutions Per Minute (Indigenous Music Culture) interview - RPM Talks With A Tribe Called Red (video)
*National Post: A Tribe Called Red's urban powwow
*Cluster Mag interview - MicroFilm: A Tribe Called Red (text and video)

CBC's Spark interview with Bear Witness - Electric Powwows, Speaking Indigenously, and Claiming Cyberspace (streaming audio)

CBC's All In A Day - Beat Tradition concert (streaming audio): "...celebrat[ing] some of the vibrant and creative music being made by artists who take the sounds of their aboriginal heritages and turn tradition into something new." - part two featuring A Tribe Called Red (other musicians featured on parts one, three, & four)

A Tribe Called Red: their blog - their aboriginal music week 2012 profile - their soundcloud (19 streaming tracks)
posted by flex (10 comments total) 33 users marked this as a favorite
This is absolutely fantastic stuff. I know what I'm listening to on the way to work tomorrow.
posted by Tomorrowful at 9:14 PM on June 12, 2012

I'm not huge on the actual music (of the two songs I've listened to so far, I'm at a 1:1 ratio of like:dislike), but I love the concept and the Spark interview is quite interesting. I tend to listen to CBC all weekend long, so I'm surprised that I didn't hear this interview when it originally aired.
posted by asnider at 9:33 PM on June 12, 2012

I heard and loved Electric Pow Wow Drum on Spark (or was it DNTO?) this past week. Yay for more!
posted by maudlin at 9:41 PM on June 12, 2012

Wow, thanks for making the post I've been putting off making for a while.

Blending dubstep/techno beats with traditional First Nations music leads to some interesting thoughts about tradition, innovation and cultural survival. Reminds me of a really great exchange with the band on an episode of the RPM.fm podcast:

RPM.fm: So what do you think if you traveled back in time to, like, the middle of the 19th century, and played this music for an Elder at that time -- what do you think, what would happen?

ACTR: I reference dubstep as the music of the future because if you played it for somebody even, like, in the 1950s -- it just sounds like noise. it's just like, big, bass, weird noise. I try and see how people would react to this club music that we're making now, like, even, you know, in the 50s -- I don't even know if they'd even understand what was happening in the mid-19th century.

RPM.fm: But I'm wondering if in the 19th century when they're creating these songs, if that's what they thought too, that they were making this future music. It's like, "no one's gonna get this" and they would bang it out on a drum.

[The band and interviewer laugh.]

RPM.fm Like pre-contact rock stars -- "No one understands me, yo."
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 10:06 PM on June 12, 2012 [3 favorites]

This is great stuff, thanks.
posted by Forktine at 5:36 AM on June 13, 2012

Native Appropriations is a terrific blog in general. Great post too.
posted by Miko at 5:38 AM on June 13, 2012

Ottawa represent!!!

Glad to see these guys blowing up, they've been working steady and strong here for years. They will be on stage at Ottawa Bluesfest on July 8th. (note: yes, we know it's not a blues event)
posted by Theta States at 6:46 AM on June 13, 2012

I'm working my way through this, and loved that the video for Native Puppy Love is taken from Brotherhood of the Wolf, an excellent trashy movie.
posted by frimble at 7:46 AM on June 13, 2012

frimble: Bear Witness (the ATCR member behind all the videos) specifically makes the band's music videos from cheesy (and pretty racist) clips of "Indians" in movies and TV to subvert the images. It's great stuff.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 4:10 PM on June 13, 2012

While I am ambivalent about most of the songs listed, I will say I love... absolutely love it when global traditional forms of music get put trough the filters. I have huge respect and admiration for outfits like ATCR

(and I love traditional musics as well, there is no need to sacrifice one for the other)
posted by edgeways at 6:46 PM on June 15, 2012 [1 favorite]

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