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.
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.