A Tribe Called Red have been amongst my favourite Canadian artists for the last few years. Their sound – mixing traditional pow wow vocals and drumming with cutting-edge electronic music – is incredibly innovative and uniquely Canadian. The Ottawa-based First Nation DJ crew is made up of DJ NDN, Bear Witness and 2oolman. Their two albums have been highly acclaimed, both nominated for the Polaris Music Prize, and a 2014 Juno Award win for Breakthrough Group solidified their popularity in Canada and beyond. Even with all that buzz, they still give away their entire first album through a free download on their website.
Having seen ATCR perform about 4 or 5 times now, I can guarantee that it is always an amazing show, full of energy and most importantly DANCING! These guys can make you move. The sold-out Friday night show at the Danforth Music Hall in Toronto was no exception. As soon as you hear that first bit of chanting, which blends seamlessly with the beat, you know you are in for something special. Beyond the music, you can also expect a full visual show which includes large projections that reference First Nations culture, along with an amazing live hoop dancer.
For a taste of their music, here are some of my favourite mixes:
Braves (from the Trapline EP)
The Road (from their second album, Nation II Nation)
Indians from All Directions (with Das Racist)
Electric Pow Wow Drum (from their first album, self-titled)
If you are in the Ottawa area, consider yourself lucky. You can check out ATCR doing their Electric Pow Wow on the second Saturday of every month at Babylon on Bank St. If you are anywhere else, keep an eye out for their shows and you won’t be disappointed.