February 04, 2023

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MUSKRAT’S TOP TEN SONGS OF 2021

MUSKRAT’S TOP TEN SONGS OF 2021

Each year we are blessed with more music from talented Indigenous musicians. Oftentimes, Indigenous musicians are underrated in the genres they perform in, from the bad ass lyrics of the Prado Monroe to the soulful timelessness of Caleigh Cardinal. That’s why we want to show our love and celebrate Indigenous musicians. Here are MUSKRAT’S top ten songs of 2021. Happy Holidays!

 

“Uncle Rico” from Snotty Nose Rose Rez Kids

These boys keep getting better and better. This is their fourth album to date and strongest outing. Things can only go up from here. Uncle Rico is SNRK’s most fun track from their 2021 album release Life After. The Haisla rappers are comprised of Young D (Darren Metz) and Yung Trybez (Quinton Nyce).

“Anirniq” from Silla and Rise

I’m always excited to see what this Ottawa based band produces next. You can tell that everyone in this video had a lot of fun making it. Anirniq has great vibes all around as a modern celebration of Indigeneity. Silla and Rise are comprised of DJ Rise Ashen, and Inuit throat singing trio Cynthia Pitsiulak, Charlotte Qamaniq and newcomer Charlotte Carleton.

“Stephen” from Prado Monroe

With the confidence of an unbothered bad bitch, Prado is this year’s breakout star. I blasted her tracks “Stephen” and “Gucci Store” all throughout the summer. Her self-titled debut album premiered on June 18th this year to commemorate Juneteenth, celebrating the liberation of enslaved Black people in America.

“There Ain’t No Way” (Better Days Version) from Caliegh Cardinal

Cardinal shows off her soulful voice and colourful personality in this stylistic video. Proving her music is timeless Cardinal reimagines the track from her 2017 album Everything and Nothing at All.

“To Da Ones” by Beny Esguerra and New Tradition Music

This song is a collaboration of Indigenous musicians and artists from the northern and southern hemispheres invoking the Eagle and Condor Prophecy that states, “when the eagle of the North and the condor of the South fly together, the Earth will awaken. The eagles of the North cannot be free without the condors of the South.” I just love everything this song represents. It also shows how Indigenous hip hop is underrated. Esguerra is Mestizo from Colombia.

“The Healer” from Digging Roots

Muskrat Magazine has been a long-time fan of popular husband and wife duo, Digging Roots. This song encapsulates the Indigenous experience perfectly. It’s about resilience, healing, moving forward and not allowing an oppressive system to keep us down. This song is the first out of two songs released this year. Their second single is “Cut My Hair”.

“Hell” from Jayli Wolf

I really connected with this song on an emotional level. Hell is about dealing with mental health issues. Jayli Wolfe has had quite the year starring in the Canadian comedy, The Exchange, The FX television series Y: The Last Man, and releasing her newest album Wild Whisper where you can find her song “Hell”.

“Dreamcatcher” from Leonard Sumner

This folksy song is from Anishinaabe singer Leonard Sumner’s latest album Thunderbird. Sumner is from Little Saskatchewan First Nation, Manitoba. He is considered one of the most important voices in the Indigenous roots music scene in Canada and occasionally forays into the hip hop and country genres. He’s just an all-around talented guy.

“Running Right Beside You” from Kinnie Starr

Starr states that this song is, “about the freedom of potential movement forward after the grand pause of a pandemic.” This is Starr’s single release of 2021. Kinnie Starr is a visual artist and activist with a focus on race, home, family, and humanity. She was born and raised in Calgary and is mixed European and Mohawk.

“Got it Bad” from Shawnee Kish

This is the most adorable video of the year and one of Kish’s catchiest tunes. Kish is a strong LGBTQ advocate with ties to Six Nations from where her great-grandmother was removed to attend residential school. The two-spirited Mohawk artist is now based out of Edmonton, Alberta with her partner Jen Kish, a former Olympian rugby player.

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About The Author

Erica Commanda

Born in Toronto, Erica Commanda (Algonquin/Ojibwe) grew up in the small community of Pikwakanagan. From there she moved across Canada living in Ottawa, Vancouver and now Toronto, working in the bar/hospitality industry, mastering the art of listening to stories from her regulars while slinging and spilling drinks (at them or to them). And now through a series of random decisions and events in life she is on a journey discovering and mastering her own knack for storytelling as Associate Editor for MUSKRAT Magazine.

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