May 28, 2023

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Red Ride Tour rides again! Indigenous musicians hit the road for the tour’s sixth incarnation

Red Ride Tour rides again! Indigenous musicians hit the road for the tour’s sixth incarnation

Tour dates:

May 3 – Capitol Centre Theatre, North Bay, ON
(Kristi Lane Sinclair, Logan Staats, Laura Ortman)

May 4 – Big Medicine Studio, Nipissing First Nation, ON
(Kristi Lane Sinclair, Logan Staats, Laura Ortman)

May 6 – Coalition, Toronto, ON
(Rosary Spence, Kristi Lane Sinclair, Logan Staats, Laura Ortman, The Johnnys)

May 7 – Woodland Cultural Centre, Brantford, ON
(Kristi Lane Sinclair, Logan Staats, Laura Ortman, Lacey Hill)

May 12 – Debajehmujig Creation Centre, Manitowaning, ON
(Kristi Lane Sinclair, Logan Staats, Laura Ortman)

May 14 – The Foundry, Thunder Bay, ON
(Kristi Lane Sinclair, Logan Staats, Nick Sherman, Laura Ortman)

May 20 – Lytton Block Party, Lytton, BC
(Kristi Lane Sinclair, Enter-Tribal)

May 21 – Victoria Event Centre, Victoria, BC
(Enter-Tribal, Ostwelve, Kristi Lane Sinclair, Paint The Town Red)

May 24 – Fairview Pub, Vancouver, BC
(Enter-Tribal, Ostwelve, Kristi Lane Sinclair, Laura Ortman)

May 26-29 – Haida Gwaii Territory, BC (school shows)

May 28 – Mile Zero Pub, Massett (TBC)
(Enter-Tribal, Kristi Lane Sinclair, Ostwelve)

Listen to music here:

The Red Ride Tour is about to hit the road for its sixth incarnation. First conceived as a DIY tour for two friends has turned into a travelling showcase of Indigenous musicians across the country.

“It has been amazing watching the tour grow,” says founder Kristi Lane Sinclair.

This year, the Red Ride Tour is taking a detour and instead of hitting larger cities, as in past years, they are travelling the grassroots road.

“We’ll be visiting reserves and smaller communities that normally don’t get a lot of live music,” says Sinclair.

The sixth Red Ride Tour kicks off May 3 in North Bay, ON, and will make stops across Canada from Nippissing First Nation to Manitoulin Island to Lytton, BC, and ends on May 29 in Sinclair’s ancestral home of Haida Gwaii.

Last year, the tour had a stop in Wikwemikong, ON, that inspired Sinclair to add more stops like that this time.

“It was highly rewarding for the musicians to see the whole community come out and show not only their support but appreciation that we came to their community.”

This year, Sinclair will be joined by the likes of Enter-Tribal featuring Cayuga/Nuxalk MC JB the First Lady; rising Mohawk singer-songwriter Logan Staats; Apache violinist Laura Ortman; Oji-Cree folk singer Nick Sherman; Stō:lo/St’át’imc multimedia artist Ostwelve; Cree vocalist Rosary Spence, Cree/Dene rockers The Johnnys and Vancouver Island hip hop quartet Paint The Town Red.

In a time when Indigenous music is being recognised more and more by the mainstream — just take a look at the Polaris Music Prize, two Indigenous women took home the coveted award two years running, and artists are now being nominated outside of the Aboriginal recording category at the Junos regularly — this is the time to buy a ticket to the show and learn more about what the Indigenous music scene in Canada has to offer.

The Red Ride Tour is a mix of musical genres and a collective of Indigenous musicians whose goal is to showcase the diverse talent of artists across North America in what is described as an eclectic community of culture.


Kristi Lane Sinclair

Fierce and feisty, Haida/Cree singer-songwriter Kristi Lane Sinclair is emblematic of a new wave of Canadian indigenous artists who are turning perceptions upside down. Raised in British Columbia’s backwaters, and drawing more from a DIY/indie aesthetic than traditional or mainstream music, Sinclair’s musical roots create a darkly intoxicating mix of grunge, folk and classical. Her smoky folk is rich and orchestral, underpinned with alternately snarling guitars and warm strings. Her latest full-length album Dark Matter (produced by Derek Miller) was released in May 2015. A brand new EP will be released in the summer of 2016 and a six-part TV series about her musical journey premieres May 10 on APTN. You can watch the trailer here:

Logan Staats

The Mohawk, Turtle clan songster was born on Six Nations of the Grand River Territory and raised in the nearby ghost town of Brantford, Ontario. Guitar and harmonica in hand, the twenty-something Staats was also the lead singer of award-winning band Ghost Town Orchestra. Staats’ songs belong to him. His presence says clearly, “Here I am.” Staats realized what music could be by sneaking into local bars as a teen. There, he marvelled at the effect musicians had on their audience. He began to write and performed for the first time as an awkward but earnest 16 year old. Now, the young multi-instrumentalist produces passionate and compulsive music. Sadness and joy animate his performances, and Staats takes stages with an aura of inevitability, capturing not only audiences, but the feeling he had so many years ago watching local artists on stage. Good Bye Goldia, Staats’ first full-length, solo studio album was released on Aboriginal Solidarity Day, June 21, 2015.

Laura Ortman

Laura Ortman (White Mountain Apache) is a Brooklyn composer, musician, and visual artist. She continually collaborates with artists, filmmakers, dancers and musicians from New York, New Mexico, Italy and Canada. She has performed, recorded and toured with New York bands Stars Like Fleas and The Dust Dive. She’s been awarded artist residencies at the Rauschenberg Residency in Captiva, Florida, the Museum of Contemporary Native Arts in Santa Fe, New Mexico, and at Issue Project Room in Brooklyn, New York. In 2008, she founded the Coast Orchestra, an all-Native American orchestral ensemble performing the 1914 original score live accompaniment to photographer Edward Curtis’s film “In the Land of the Head Hunters” to sold-out audiences at the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C., and the American Museum of Natural History in New York. Ortman releases her third solo album My Soul Remainer in 2016 recorded and co-produced by Martin Bisi.


Ron Dean Harris (Ostwelve), was born in the Sto:lo Territory of BC in 1979 where he grew up with his grandparents until he was 13, leaving his small town home for Vancouver in order to find hip hop and himself. Music has always been an integral part of his life, with a mother who played percussion, a father who played guitar and many uncles and grandparents with musical love and talent. Ostwelve has been acting, rapping, and film-making, landing a principal character role on the APTN/Showcase drama Moccasin Flats. He has also been travelling the world showcasing his talent, from the Nokia Jam in Johannesburg to the North American Indigenous Games in Duncan, BC and has shared the stage with Coolio, Snoop Dogg, Guru, K’naan, Living Legends, Litefoot, Rez Official, Digging Roots and Kinnie Starr. He is currently writing a new album titled Since Rhyme Immemorial which looks back at the basics of why he got into hip hop and focuses on the craft of lyricism in rap.

Nick Sherman

Singer-songwriter, Nick Sherman, gives new meaning to “the voice in the wilderness,” or rather, the voice from the wilderness. While he still calls his rural birthplace of Sioux Lookout home, Sherman spent much of his youth out on the land, moving between his hometown, the small First Nation community of Weagamow Lake, and his family’s trapline on North Caribou Lake. It was here in the depths of the Northern Ontario forest that his family members would play guitar as they tended their trapline, and Nick found himself soaking in songs and lyrics. His gentle voice is rich with honesty and the vitality of youth, but tempered with world-weariness, atop his strong, simple guitar. Nick’s deeply personal songs are inspired by the lives of people in his community, his own upbringing and life experiences as he now raises his own family in Canada’s north. In this way his Indigenous heritage resonates with soul-brushing candour as he sings the boreal forest blues. Nick released his first full-length album, Drag Your Words Through, in 2012 followed by Knives and Wildrice in May 2015.

Lacey Hill

Lacey Erin Hill – Oneida, Wolf Clan, born and raised on Six Nations of The Grand River Reserve, ON. Lacey always had a passion for music and singing. At the age of 16, she had her first opportunity to see what the studio was like cutting a cover demo, which planted the musical seed deep within her soul. At the age of 22, she joined well-known local group The Breeze Band as a back-up vocalist and toured throughout Canada and the US, eventually earning a nomination at the Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards. After the band split, Lacey has been writing and composing her own music, releasing her debut album 528 in 2013 with another on the way this year.

Rosary Spence

Originally from the coastal Cree community of Fort Albany First Nation, off the coast of James Bay, Rosary Spence is an Indigenous singer, steeped in time-honoured Aboriginal rhythms and styles. Spence has performed at the ImagineNative Film Festival, Planet IndigenUS, and as an opening act for various events and conferences. Spence prides herself as an established self-taught vocalist, but has also studied at The Banff Centre For The Arts. Spence’s debut album (released May 2015), titled Maskawasiwin, a Cree word for Strength, is dedicated to all of the teachings and teachers whom have provided her with strength thus far in her life’s journey. Maskawasiwin brings forward a recording that depicts the range of Spence’s musical ability, from traditional vocables, to acoustic rhythms, and modern urban fusions.

The Johnnys

The Johnnys is a high-energy beat-driven rock duo founded by singer & guitar player Veronica Johnny (of Cree and Dene heritage) with drummer and partner Dave Johnny. Described as “real, rebellious, swaggering rock’n’roll”, The Johnnys perform live as a two-piece to four-piece band and also facilitate music & inspirational workshops for schools, festivals, bands, organizations & individuals. The duo formed the group in Fort Smith, Northwest Territories, inspired by early rock’n’roll and the first wave of punk with their commitment to fast tempos, stripped-down arrangements and tongue-in-cheek lyrics. They’ve played across Canada, been featured on TV and film and shared stages with such music luminaries as Geordie Johnson (Big Sugar), Stevie Salas, Bruce Cockburn, Jonny Lang, Keith Secola, Crystal Shawanda and Kinnie Starr. The band’s albums, I Like It A Lot and Louder Faster More Fun, were both nominated for Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.


Enter-Tribal is a refreshingly unique duo coming out of the native community. Chief Rock (Cayuga) & Jb The First Lady (Cayuga/Nuxalk) both bring dynamic energy to the stage demonstrating their passion and love for their music and community. Their fusion of traditional Haudenosaunee sounds with modern Hip Hop beats is seamless and can effortlessly captivate any audience. Their first venture together was on Jb the First Lady’s album Indigenous Girl Lifestyle. Their live performance is electrifying and everyone in the room can feel the good positive vibes that are being created on stage, as well as the high energy and non stop music that flows during the show. The clever blend of Pow Wow style songs and being Pow wow dancers themselves, they really capture the lifestyle and humour that comes out of Pow Wow Country.

Paint The Town Red

Paint The Town Red is a Vancouver Island based hip hop group forged by four members: Brian Sampson aka YellowWolf (MC), Tommy Paul aka Barndawg (MC), Addie Elliott (Singer/Vocalist) and Serj Dirassoyan aka DJ Goadman (DJ). PTTR was first used as the name of their production company who would fly native rap artists from across Canada into the Victoria Area, as there was no real outlet for the Native hip hop scene. After a couple years of hosting shows, in late 2012 they decided to hit the ground running for themselves and started using PTTR as their group name. A year later they ran into DJ Goadman who became their turn tablest. Addie brought her soulful, young and talented touch to a group project and video named “Re-educate” – a song that hits home hard as it touches on the issue of residential schools and its long after effects. Their first EP, The Grand Entry, will be released in 2016.

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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