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A Tribe Called Red


A Tribe Called Red - A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red
(independent) - 2012


Michael Panontin
The Ottawa collective known as A Tribe Called Red started off inauspiciously enough back in 2008 when local deejays Ian Campeau, aka DJ NDN, and Bear Witness threw a party with hopes of gathering up the city's aboriginal community. Campeau told the National Post, "It was the same idea as how other minority groups in the city would have certain nights at a club, (but this) was off-the-chain busy. We had no choice but to keep doing it." They would eventually take on the more renowned DJ Shub, and the three-man crew went about transforming club culture with their monthly shindigs, the massively influential Electric Pow Wow nights held on the second Saturday of the month at the Babylon club. As Bear Witness sees it, the trio's mission is pretty clear-cut. "What we're trying do with A Tribe Called Red is take those traditional aspects of being aboriginal and bring them into our urban life."

Their first full-length record, available as a free download from their website, is a curious mash-up of dubstep, electro and traditional First Nations music. Some tracks like the sparse 'Intertribal n1' or the dancehall-filled 'MoombawWow' can be a bit taxing, dishing out those Atari beats in heavy doses. Skip those and head straight for the more revolutionary ones like the polemical 'Woodcarver', which samples news footage of the 2010 Seattle police shooting of native American woodcarver John T. Williams - for which charges unbelievably, or perhaps not so unbelievably, were dropped. Or floor-fillers like 'Electric Pow Wow Drum', or the amazing 'Red Skin Girl (ATCR Remix)', where the unbridled intensity of native music is unleashed in fabulously full force. This is truly terrifying music.
         


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     A Tribe Called Red


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