Round Dances, Blues Dancing and Club Music – A few Six Nations selections.
Pappy John’s Band – The Bar Road Band was where Don Powless and Murry Porter Mohawks from Six Nations, and Oren Doxtater from Oneida Settlement near London, met in 1978. With a few additions to their line up they became Pappy John’s Band. They became the house band on APTN’s Buffalo Tracks. Along the way they picked up a Juno nomination and several Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in the early 2000’s.
Here’s a song addressing the 1492 Land Back Lane protest, called “Solidarity.”
Murray Porter branched out from Pappy John’s Band to play his own music, and met some early success with his 1995 release, “1492, Who Found Who.”
Now based in Squamish Territory in North Vancouver, he won a Juno in 2012 for “Songs Lived and Life Played.” The keyboard player leads his own band, and usually plays western Canada. “Stand Up,” his latest album, is currently nominated for a Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Award for Roots Album, and Porter himself has been nominated for Recording Artist of the Year.
A guitar slinger who got to tour the country after Buffy Ste Marie hired him, Derek Miller has received accolades and awards over two decades and change.
The 46 year-old has been at it since his teens, and released his first solo album in 2002, “Music is the Medicine,” which garnered him a Juno the following year. He’s since released a few more singles, a couple of albums, and worked on fil and t.v. material including compiling the 2015 collection “Rumble.”
Here is a live staple of Miler’s, a cover of Hank Williams party classic “Jambalaya.”
Dwayne Laforme has been slinging the blues on guitar for over 30 years.
Raised on both Six Nations and the Mississauga of the Credit First Nation, Laforme also grew up in a musical atmosphere. In addition to his band, Dwayne Laforme’s Boogie Blues, he also plays with others, like the Mighty Ducks Blues Band. Before that’s he’s joined forces with Dutch Mason and joined the Downchild Blues Band on stage.
Trading the blues for contemporary pop, Logaan Staats was profiled on the music business reality t.v. show The Launch on CTV. That raised his profile since 20014’s Aboriginal People’s Choice Award for best new album with his band at that time, Ghost Town Orchestra.
Here is a live cut with a spare esthetic one might compare to his material from The Launch.
Tru Rez Crew
Straight outta Ohsweken Ontario, this Six Nations rap crew have been in the business for nearly 20 years. They hit in 2004 when they won two awards at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards in Toronto for Best Album, and their song “I’m A Lucky One.” Some members carry the struggle onward with 6BronxZoo.
6BronxZoo is a collective of independent M.C.’s from Six Nations whose raps about land defenders and education are aimed at edifying local youth, while keeping them dancing. Some members like Jimi James, came out of Tru Rez Crew. He told Janet Rogers, for a Taddle Creek article, 6BronxZoo “riffs off the term Six Nay Zoo – when big tourist busses roll through the rez, filled with people taking pictures of us ;like we’re animals in a zoo. The Bronx part honours the roots of hip hop, where it started.” Here is a video with Jimi James, Pete Nyce, Fresh Quest and Tee Zee.
The Halluci Nation (Formerly A Tribe Called Red)
Founding member of A Tribe Called Red Tim 2oolman Hill, a Six Nations Mohawk, found likeminded people in Ottawa to launch an Indigenous themed club night, A Tribe Called Red. Since 2007 ATCR has played across North America and managed to hit the Germany, the U.K. and Greece.
In 2014 they won two Junos, including Breakthrough Group, with more Juno nominations and an award to come in 2017 and 2018. They have also worked with many Indigenous artists, including the remix of Keith Secola’s popular “NDN Kar.”
ATCR’s music has been Powwow Step and Electric Powwow. Earlier in 2021 ATCR announced their name change to The Halluci Nation, the title of their 2016 album, itself taken from a speech by Indigenous activist John Trudell.
Here is a video of The Halluci Nation with Saul Williams and Chippewa Travelers.
Six Nations Singers – Yeh Yen Wen Sa Gey Had Nad Tren Nute Ta (Vinyl)
This is an interesting album; it has a series of dances, beginning with a 16-minute Round Dance. There are moments of talking before songs, including an English reference to the final song, “Alligator Dance.”
The L.P. cover mentions the two instruments featured on here; the water drum and the cow horn rattle, as well as foot stomping and chair hitting. The songs are described as Iroquois social, rather than religious music. The call and response with minimal percussion is vaguely reminiscent of New Orleans’ Mardi Gras Indian music from bands like The White Eagles. The Woodland Cultural Centre is thanked as well, a reminder of the ever present Mohawk Institute.