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Yamantaka // Sonic Titan to Wolf Saga: meet Indigenous artists pushing the boundaries of sound

Jarrett Martineau
Reclaimed Aug 02, 2017

The fifth episode!


You can find Indigenous sounds weaving in and out of all kinds of music. There are artists that you’d never know were Native, and there are sounds you might not catch if you don’t know where or how to listen for them.

Here's a quick introduction to a few.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan are a neon-coloured collage of amazing ideas and influences. It's a Toronto band and performance art collective from different backgrounds and communities. But that’s not the point of the group's music.

Yamantaka // Sonic Titan is all about infusing ideas from everywhere into its songs. This is a band that calls itself a “psychedelic noh-wave opera group.” Through it all, though, if you listen closely, you can hear Mohawk singer Ange Loft bringing in some of the sounds of Kahnawake.

Jesse Ed Davis

Jesse Ed Davis was a legendary Kiowa musician who is featured in the new Indigenous music documentary Rumble: the Indians Who Rocked the World.

Eric Clapton called Davis one of his favourite guitar players, and Davis played with everyone from Taj Mahal and George Harrison to Leonard Cohen and American Indian Movement activist and poet John Trudell.

Davis was one of the few Indigenous musicians of his generation who had no interest in hiding who he was. He proudly repped his culture — but it always about the music. His artistry. His guitar playing.

Below is a stellar track that shows exactly what this sounds like, featuring none other than Eric Clapton.

Wolf Saga

The night was packed. The band was rocking. The smoke machine wouldn’t turn off. It was an underground studio space in Toronto where CBC Music recorded a First Play Live session with Anishinaabe musician Wolf Saga.

Known for his catchy and melodic take on pop music, you can check out some of his CBC First Play Live performance below or stream the whole concert right here.

Reclaimed airs Wednesdays at 7 p.m. on CBC Radio 2, with host Jarrett Martineau. Also included on the playlist this week is an incredible, 23-year-old Maori soul singer Teeks, who grew up immersed in the sounds of waiata, Bob Marley and Elvis Presley.

More to explore:

Re-listen to past episodes of CBC Music's Reclaimed

Thelma Plum to Snotty Nose Rez Kids: meet young Indigenous artists leading the next wave

How Indigenous music from the 1970s echoes today's struggles