I had to decline performing at the Kazoo! Fest this year due to travel distance, but my friends at the festival asked me if I would consider writing an article about Ziibiwan for their blog.
Ziibiwan is an emerging artist that I hugely respect, and I recommend checking out his album.
READ: Why Ziibiwan is Awesome by Melody Megwe-aanakwad McKiver
Aaniin dash Ziibiwan gi-maamakaadendaagozi na?
It seems most appropriate to ask “Why Ziibiwan is awesome” in Anishinaabemowin. Translations between English and Anishinaabemowin, the traditional language of the Anishinaabeg peoples, are always a messy business. Words and concepts don’t always smoothly transition between languages and cultures. These transitions get further impeded after centuries of colonial trauma. I’m questioning my own grammatical translation as I write this, and I know that Ziibiwan and I share similar familial histories of language loss and reclamation amidst Canada’s ongoing colonial violence against Indigenous peoples – even children. That undercurrent of resistance percolates amidst our music, both of us (predominantly) instrumental composers.
I was honoured this past August to be invited home by the youth council of Lac Seul First Nation to help out at their annual youth conference, hold music workshops, and share my music. I had the opportunity to connect with David Hodges of N’we Jinan while we were both in Frenchman’s Head and write and record string arrangements for Echo My Soul and have a cameo in the music video. I’m proud to support the talents of amazing youth (and cousins!) in my family’s community.
SONG CREDITS: Jenelle Manitowabi, Tayler Drew Bottle, Cassie Capay, Chelsea Bunting, Melody McKiver.
Song mixed and produced by David Hodges, Joey Langlois & Melody McKiver.
I was asked to write an article for the Canadian Music Centre’s online publication Ontario Notations.
Check out our most recent issue of Notations! We feature an article by CMC Associate Composer John Beckwith regarding his piece Wendake/Huronia, written to commemorate the 400th anniversary of Samuel Champlain’s voyage to Lake Huron; however, Beckwith also seeks to reflect the impact of colonialism on First Nations communities in the region. Melody McKiver contributes a thought-provoking commentary on the public commemoration of Canada’s colonial past, and how indigenous artists assert their identities and histories in such a cultural climate. We also feature an interview with artist Ange Loft regarding her Idle No More community project, and we contrast different approaches to artistic research and collaboration that seek to represent the experiences of First Nations communities. (emphasis added)
A direct link to the publication in pdf format is available here.
The Big Lemming from Mosha Folger on Vimeo.
I had the great pleasure of working with Inuk filmmaker Mosha Folger on the score of his latest stop-motion film, based on the print “Avingaluk (The Big Lemming)” by his grandfather Pudlo Pudlat. I wrote and recorded the first draft of this score while in residency at Debajehmujig during April 2014. I re-recorded the final score at Knox United Church in Edwards, Ontario in August 2014. The film premiered this past fall at imagineNATIVE in Toronto.
The score was written for viola in four parts, and was written, recorded, and performed by myself.
NOW Toronto published a Q&A with the music programming collective I work with, Bold As Love. Click through to read the full article.
Rosina Kazi, Jamaias DaCosta, Elwood Jimmy, Cherish Blood, Cris Derksen and Melody McKiver are Bold As Love, the arts collective of poets, musicians, actors and activists committed to community-building and -bridging by bringing people of colour (PoC) and Indigenous artists onstage in multiple disciplines. Saturday (November 15) marks the second in their series of six presentations – this one celebrating the 16th birthday of Kazi’s social-justice-motivated underground electronic band, Lal (with Nicholas “Murr” Murray and Ian De Souza), joined by Montreal spoken word musician Moe Clark.
Bold As Love’s MO is bringing together PoC and Indigenous artists. Why is that important to you?
Jamaias Da Costa, poet/journalist: We share a similar experience of being under-represented in the mainstream. Whether at festivals, concert series or other events, PoC and indigenous artists are often tokenized. We want to forge conversations between indigenous artists and other artists of colour – as well as our audiences. Everyone is welcome, of course, but there are specific experiences that indigenous and PoC artists can speak to.
I co-authored this article about A Tribe Called Red with Elling Lien of The Scope (RIP, Scope) about the group’s first visit to Newfoundland. Check it out here.
Last week I had the opportunity to talk on the phone with Stephanie Cram from McGill’s campus station CKUT about Idle No More, my artistic practice, and influences. The story, “Multi-instrumentalist Melody McKiver on new music” is part of a larger series titled (Mis)representation Nation: Exploring Aboriginal Identity Through Art, and includes interviews from some of my favourite Indigenous artists such as Bear Witness of A Tribe Called Red and poet Moe Clark.
At today’s rally I had to focus a bit more on video coverage (forthcoming), but here’s a selection of some of my favourites. There was a special call out to jingle dancers to come and share their healing dance with the hundreds of people gathered in a snowstorm.
Here’s a selection of photos shot during the #J11 rally from Victoria Island, to the PM’s office on Langevin Block, to Parliament Hill. The day is now infamous for the disappointment of the Chiefs’ meetings with the Prime Minister and the Governor General, and the continuation of Chief Spence’s hunger strike. However, the grassroots energy on the streets prior to the meetings was truly inspirational. Video forthcoming.