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Jayli Wolf | Image source: Hayden Wolf

This year’s theme for International Women’s Day is #ChooseToChallenge the dated patriarchal system we all live in and to celebrate the achievements of women everywhere so that we may strive to live in a more aware, equal, and inclusive society. Here at MUSKRAT Magazine, we wanted to celebrate and honour Indigenous women musicians who are making huge changes and gains across the music industry – an industry notoriously sexist towards women. Here are MUSKRAT Magazine’s Indigenous women artists to listen to on International Women’s Day (& every other day as well!)

Jayli Wolf – Once a Tree

Despite the world being lockdown during a pandemic for most of 2020, Jayli Wolf (Cree/Anishinaabe) had an incredible year. Her music was featured in two projects that screened at Toronto International Film Festival- Beans and Trickster. She also worked with Borat director, Dan Mazer on a new film that will be released soon, and she will be releasing a new solo album as well. Jayli is a role model in her community as she encourages youth to follow their dreams while being an example of what that looks like. She and her partner, Hayden, comprise the electronic music duo Once a Tree. Here is Jayli and Hayden with their latest single Have You Ever from the album Fool’s Paradise.

Record labels: Alt Eden Inc., Foreseen Entertainment

Symone Humphrey

Symone Humphrey is a new artist who debuted her first single in 2020. You can catch her tracks on Soundcloud. Her sound is a mixture of fun and poppy to soulful R&B. She is an incredibly talented musician with a bright career ahead of her. I’m excited to see where she goes next. Here is her newest released track Self Love for which she also directed to music video for.

Independent artist

Cynthia Pitsiulak and Charlotte Qamaniq from Silla and Rise

Silla and Rise comprise of Cynthia Pitsiulak’s and Charlotte Qamaniq’s Inuit throat singing and Ottawa DJ Rise Ashen’s futuristic dance beats. Silla means weather in Inuktitut, acknowledging the power of how nature connects us all through the land, water, moon, sun, and stars. They released their self-titled debut album in 2017 and are working on their second one. Here is a most recent remix of their single Soft from their debut album.

Record labels: Balanced Records, Rise Ashen Records

Shauna Seeteenak

Based out of Iqaluit, Shauna Seeteenak is a genuine storyteller who expresses herself through music as a hip-hop artist and political rapper. Her music centres on the truths and challenges many Inuit face in terms of mental health, sobriety, negative stereotypes, overcoming barriers, surviving the north and the healing journey. Here is her latest single, Better With You from her most recent album Therapy Sessions.

Record Label: Hitmakerz

Melody McArthur

Melody McArthur is a hip-hop artist from Treaty 8 Territory in Northern Alberta. She has a very melodic and poppy sound. So far, she has come out with three albums: Redneck Reservation (2018), Indigenuity (2019), and Rising Waters (2020). She is a two-time Edmonton Music Award Nominee (2018 and 2019) for Indigenous Recording of the Year. As a mentor and leader in her community, she launched a pilot no-cost mentorship program for emerging/amateur Indigenous musicians that concluded in 2020. Here is the song Glow Up from her album Rising Waters.

Record Label: Melody McArthur

Iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ

Iskwē is a multidisciplinary artist and storyteller. Her 2017 album, The Fight Within earned her a Juno nomination for Indigenous Album of the Year, while being was longlisted for the Polaris Music Prize that same year. Her current album acākosīk is a collection of seven sonic explorations that fuses sources and styles, yet has a more alternative, post-rock and industrial sound to it. The album is weaved with the sounds of Iskwē’s Cree and Métis ancestors. Here she is in her latest outing, a collaboration with Canadian rocker Tom Wilson, with bluesy-sounding Lee Harvey Osmond remake Blue Moon, which was recorded live at Jukasa Studios on Six Nations, ON

Music Publishing: Hyvetown Music Inc and Red Music Riding

International Women’s Day (IWD) was first recognized in 1911 in Austria, Denmark, Germany, and Switzerland where more than one million women and men came together to rally for women’s right to work, vote, and hold public office. Since then, the journey for gender equality has had many ups and downs, becoming more complex over time as women, trans women, and people who are gender fluid still struggle to gain the same representation, recognition, and safety that is often afforded to our cis-male counterparts.

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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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