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Thu, Mar 24


A Conversation: ShoShona Kish & iskwē Co-presented by the International Indigenous Music Summit

ONLINE only, ShoShona Kish & iskwē Co-presented by the International Indigenous Music Summit

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A Conversation: ShoShona Kish & iskwē  Co-presented by the International Indigenous Music Summit
A Conversation: ShoShona Kish & iskwē  Co-presented by the International Indigenous Music Summit

Time & Location

Mar 24, 2022, 1:25 p.m.

About the Event

ShoShona Kish is an Anishinaabekwe community organizer, producer, activist, songwriter and JUNO award-winning touring artist. ShoShona was awarded the ‘Spirit of Folk Award’ at the International Folk Awards in Kansas City and was recognized by the Berlin based WOMEX organization for her work internationally with the prestigious ‘Professional Excellence Award’, “for her role in the ongoing revolution of upheaving Indigenous communities and their culture – using the medium of music as an agent of change, to awaken our humanity and help us connect”.

ShoShona leads the multi-award-winning band Digging Roots, with her husband, Raven Kanatakta. Their music breaches categorization, seamlessly blending global and traditional Indigenous sounds with roots, blues and soul. They have brought their unique musical marriage of unvarnished truth and unconditional love to venues and festivals around the world.

Like her music, ShoShona defies colonial definitions, constantly subverting any attempts to put her in a box. She is guided by both curiosity and purpose, openly exploring topical, inspirational and often uncomfortable issues, treating music as a call to action.

ShoShona is a member of the Music Canada Advisory Council as well as the founder of the International Indigenous Music Summit and the music label Ishkōdé Records.

She has been an on-air contributor to CBC Radio’s national arts and culture magazine ‘q’ and was the host of the 2018 Maple Blues Awards and the National Arts Centre’s celebration of Indigenous women in music Anishinaabekwe. As an artist and curator, she has collaborated on a wide range of projects at home and abroad with the likes of Canada’s National Art Centre, Massey Hall, the Women of the World Festival and the Sydney Opera House.

Digging Roots’ highly anticipated new album, “Zhawenim” (meaning unconditional love in Anishinabemowiin) will be released in June 2022.

iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ (short for waseskwan iskwew, meaning “blue sky woman”) is, among many other things, an artist – a creator and communicator of music and of movement, of pictures, poetry and prose. And through it all, she’s a teller of stories that have impacted our past and will inform our future. 

The Stars is iskwē’s newest release (March 5, 2021). It is the inverse of her third album acākosīk starting with the title which is the English translation of the Cree word acākosīk. Where acākosīk is a blaze of sonic exploration, The Stars is an elegant and intimate sharing of the collection allowing iskwē’s songwriting, voice and spirit to shine. The Stars features entirely new arrangements of the six songs with iskwē accompanied by a trio of piano (Michael Shand), cello (Mariel Gonzalez), and violin (Laura C Bates) recorded live-off-the-floor at Revolution Recording in Toronto and a dramatic orchestral reimagining of “Night Danger (Lovers Mix)” recorded with the FILMharmonic Orchestra (Prague). Where acākosīk demands our attention, The Stars invites us into an emotional and soulful experience with iskwē.

acākosīk, (November 9, 2019),   is a sonic exploration that not only blurs lines between sources and styles, but also between the actual and the ideal, the real and imagined. But by extension, it’s also the star around which immersive worlds of live performance, video, and visual art revolve. acākosīk has received critical praise: the video for “Little Star” garnered a JUNO Award for Music Video of the Year in 2020, the album was nominated for a JUNO Award for Adult Alternative Album of the Year, and “Breaking Down” was nominated for a Prism Prize and the SOCAN Songwriting Prize. 

The songs on acākosīk and The Stars  are meant to raise awareness of systemic abuses and societal opinions and the way we’ve been perceived and treated, but also to celebrate our culture and help bridge that gap – to help us find empathy and common ground and connect the way we’re supposed to as people, regardless of race or religion or background,” she shares. “A lot of these issues, while they stem from my experiences and those of my people, are really universally human issues.”

iskwē’s album The Fight Within (2017) was JUNO-nominated for Indigenous Music Album of the Year (2018) and garnered her a spot on the Polaris Long List. 

iskwē’s message is arguably most impactful when delivered from the stage, where it’s not uncommon for people to leave in entranced contemplation or even in tears. Music merges with dance, multimedia, and more in a completely engulfing and cathartic experience – one meant to bring people together and celebrate that which unites over that which divides.

She has performed hundreds of shows in Canada and internationally, including Canadian highlights at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill and a triumphant performance with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, in New York City at the Met and SummerStage in Central Park, and beyond for the King and Queen of Sweden, Reeperbahn in Germany, and Border Crossing’s Origins Festival in England. iskwē is an ambassador and program participant for the PRS Keychange initiative.

iskwē is Cree Métis from Treaty One Territory. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She is an urban Indigenous two-spirited woman from the Red River Valley, the birthplace of the Métis Nation.

iskwē is pronounced iss-kway

acākosīk is pronounced acha-ko-suk 

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