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Clockwise from left to right: Julian Taylor from Canada, Stan Walker from Aotearoa (New Zealand), Miiesha from Aṉangu/Torres Strait Island (Australia), and Brendt Thomas Diabo (Mohawk from Canada)

More and more Indigenous musicians are carving out a space of their own. Today the soundwaves are blessed with an explosion of Indigenous music and sounds from the likes of the Snotty Nose Rez Kids – who can do no wrong – to the anthemic sounds of Uyarakq’s Move, I’m Indigenous. In this TOP TEN MUSKRAT Indigenous music playlist we also explore the sounds of Aboriginal Australia and the Māori in Aotearoa.

Ballad Of a Young Troubadour – Julian Taylor

Julian Taylor is part Mohawk and West Indian. His lyrical style is more of a cinematic one. Ballad of a Young Troubadour has a story like feel to it much like old school country songs, but modern. It’s very peaceful and reflective of the North American landscape.

Brendt Thomas Diabo- Foolish Heart

Diabo has been performing on stage and in front of the camera for several years now. Most notably, he has starred in Angelique’s Isle (2018) and Fire Song (2015) along with being nominated for best radio single in 2017 for his song Dirty Old Town. Foolish Heart has received much fanfare and success with the single being at the top spot on the Indigenous Music Countdown this past week.

BIRDZ – Bagi-la-m Bargan ft. Fred Leone

Nathan Bird is a Butchulla rapper from Katherine, North Territory in Australia who has been producing music since 2017. The activist describes his music as “a declaration of survival.” Bagi-la-m Bargan starts with a beautiful piano melody that segues into a powerful anthemic rap track.

Miiesha – Damaged

Miiesha is an Aṉangu/Torres Strait Islander performer who has been singing and song writing since she was eight. Her music has this smooth, R&B, soul sound to it. She is inspired by spoken word poetry and it shows in her lyrics. Miiesha is her most personal song yet as it touches on her broken relationship with her mother.

Tilly Tjala Thomas – Ngana Nyunyi

Tilly is Nukunu from South Australia. Ngana Nyunyi is inspired by a game her, and her father used to play on car rides in order to practice her language. On long drives Dad would ask, ‘Ngana Nyunyi (what’s that?)’ and we’d reply ‘Nyunyi kulpi/yirta/thartu (that’s a cloud/bird/hill)’. The song has this intimate folksy sound to it. The accompanying video is shot entirely on her home territory in Nukunu country in the Southern Flinders.

Digging Roots – Skoden

We are huge fans and long-time supporters of Digging Roots. Their latest outing, Skoden, is an exciting grassroots bluesy track with powerful lyrics characterizing Indigenous resistance. “Lost generations living in fear Failed machines, with broken gears; Why put up with this for all these years; Speak up your truth now, for all to hear.”

Stan Walker – Come Back Home

Walker is part of the Tūhoe, Ngāi Te Rangi & Ngāti Porou Māori nations from Aotearoa. When Come Back Home opens up with spoken poetry and moves into something reminiscent of that 90’s pop-gospel sound. What is best about this song and video is the effortless glamorous Māori feel that to it.

Terry Uyarak – Tasiunnga

Terry Uyarak has a unique Inuit Indie sound. Tasiunnga is from his 2020 debut album Nunarjua Isulinginniani meaning before the world ends, which is a reference to the fact that he thought he wouldn’t make this album. The album is reflective of his experiences as father, husband, hunter, and storyteller in his community.

Logan Staats – Deadman

Another Mohawk makes the list! Staats hails from Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and got his start on the Canadian competition show The Launch. After his success he moved to Nashville and Los Angeles to jumpstart his country music career. Staats shows off his strong vocals in his latest outing.

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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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