One of the most astounding things about running a Music Journal, is the amazing artists that reach out to us to share their music and their stories, and this artist Iskwé, is Todays Vision of the future of environmental and global consciousness. I thought you should read the letter sent to me announcing the release of her new single “Soldier”.
Iskwé , named ‘Top 10 Canadian Musicians You Need to Know’ by CBC Music, has , in my opinion, mastered cross-cultural aesthetic is as striking as her tripped-out blend of soul.
Her own words ring of a truth that is undeniable.-
“I have always gravitated towards darker, deep-cut, bottom-heavy sounds; it’s what resonates with my creativity – politically charged lyrics, dark soulful R&B rhythms, electronic flourishes, and trip hop breakbeats.
I believe this is captured fully on my new single Soldier
It’s impossible to know what shape our planet will be in several generations down the road. What I do know is that we need to do better. Soldier is for all the protectors of our land, our water and our future generations. If you’d like to read more about the single, Exclaim! Magazine has the premiere piece. The single comes from my new album The Fight Within, out October 13 2017.
While my music is undoubtedly a source of deep, personal strength for me, it is also a form of protest––protest against the continued hardships of the North American Indigenous community, protest against flippant legislature failing to protect our lands and waterways, and protest against fallout women face when speaking out on issues within the music industry.
I speak my mind about my culture and gender. I’ve never been timid or shy about addressing those sorts of topics in my music because that’s not my spirit – I was raised to be loud about the things I believe in! I intend to honor my heritage and stand steadfast in my viewpoints while creating music that rings true to to myself as an artist.
Ekosani (thank you) for listening and sharing the new single.
- August 19 – Harvest Sun Music Fest, Kelwood, MB
- August 20 – Riverfest Elora, Elora, ON
- August 30 – Montebello Park, Saint Catharines, ON
- Sept 30 – Howling Moons Festival, Hamilton, ON
- Oct 5 – The Biltmore, Vancouver, BC
- Oct 6 – Lucky, Victoria, BC
- Oct 7 – Queens, Nanaimo, BC
- Oct 12 – Sunfest, London, ON
- Oct 13 – West End Cultural Centre, Winnipeg, MB
- Oct 14 – Great Hall Toronto (guest feature)
- Oct 19/29 – Canada C3
- Nov 2 – DSTRCT, Guelph, ON
- Nov 10 – The Carleton, Halifax, NS
- Nov 12 – Hart House, UofT, Toronto, ON
- Nov 12 – GLGA Flashback Gala, Toronto, ON (private event)
- Nov 16 – The Casbah, Hamilton, ON
- Nov 17 – Phog Lounge, Windsor, ON
- Nov 18 – The Rivoli, Toronto, ON
- Nov 23 – National Arts Centre, Ottawa, ON
For more information: http://www.iskwe.com
In a world where we are constantly defining the sum of our lives through the filter of another’s gaze, genuinely unchained artists like Winnipeg-bred Hamilton-based singer-songwriter Iskwé (pronounced iss-kway) are becoming a rare breed.
Named one of the ‘Top 10 Artists to Watch’ by CBC Music, Iskwé (which means ‘woman’ in her native language) is fostering an unmistakable sound that weaves together her Irish and Cree/Dené roots with poignant politically charged lyrics, dark soulful R&B rhythms, electronic flourishes, and trip hop breakbeats.
While Iskwé’s music is undoubtedly a source of deep personal strength it is also a form of protest––protest against the continued hardships of the Canadian Indigenous community and protest against the fallout she has faced as a female speaking out on the subject openly in the music industry.
“There are people who assume that I won’t feel strong enough to speak my mind about my own culture and gender and that’s fine, but I won’t be silenced,” says Iskwé. “I’ve never been timid or shy about addressing those sorts of topics in my music because that’s not my spirit and it doesn’t reflect me inside.”
Bridging cross-cultural aesthetics while exploring her own struggle to both fit into and breakaway from modern Western archetypes, has been an important part of IsKwé’s artistic vision since the release of her self-titled debut album in late 2013.
Her debut single “Nobody Knows,” which was produced by Juno Award nominees The Darcys and is currently being featured in the Netflix series Between, captivated audiences by turning a stark spotlight on the more than 1200 missing and murdered Indigenous women here in Canada.
The song, which perfectly paired Iskwé’s signature downtempo tones with harsh reality, revealed an artist whose true beauty and undeniable appeal lies in her ability to find strength in the weight of her emotions.
During her live shows, Iskwé pairs her songs with elaborately adorned face paint both as an homage to her ancestral roots and as a platform upon which her message really comes to life. “Painting was one of my first loves. Incorporating it into my live show has not only become a way for me to expand my creative expression but it is also very much an act of reclaiming tradition.”
Inspired by both Dené and Inuit facial tattooing, Iskwé views the face paint as an act of rebellion against cultural appropriation and the limitations that have been imposed upon her as an artist. “Even if it isn’t entirely understood, painting my face prompts people to ask me, ‘Why?’ If I were to be subtle about it, I’d risk the message being lost in translation but when I’m loud and over the top with it, I think people find it harder to look away. That’s important to me because it prompts dialogue and it lets me know that the conversation is still very much alive.”
Unafraid to challenge the convictions of her detractors by honouring her heritage, standing steadfast in her viewpoints, and embracing her sexuality, Iskwé’s artistry knows no bounds. Blending soulful, breathlessly delivered lyrics that are coloured by the many shades of human nature with a sonic palette that takes its queue from the shadowy atmospherics of the 1990s Bristol sound, Iskwé’s music revels in her strength of self and that is her true rallying cry.
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