Celeigh Cardinal Shares the Songs by Indigenous Artists that Inspire Her


Celeigh Cardinal is an Edmonton-based Métis singer-songwriter, a JUNO Award-winner, and the host of  Full Circle on CKUA Radio. We asked her to join the conversation for Bell Let’s Talk Day to share a personal playlist of songs by Indigenous artists that have inspired and uplifted her during the pandemic. 

Music has been playing a different role in my life since the pandemic began. It serves more purpose now. Music is now more than just the means by which I make my living. It also helps me find more connection to people and place. I feel less isolated when I see myself in other people’s music. For this playlist, I chose some of my favourite songs that I like to return to over and over again; the ones that I’m constantly playing on my radio show and personally. These Indigenous artists and their songs help me see and understand myself more.

“Mehcinut” by  Jeremy Dutcher

This song has so much vocal dynamic range that it takes you on a roller coaster ride. It moves me to tears every time.

“Sacred Seed” by Pura Fé

Of the many songs by Pura Fé, this song really sticks to me. If I could play her entire repertoire over and over again, I would. But this song really stands out.

“Light is Gone” by Amanda Rheaume

This song is upbeat and fun to sing along to when you need a pick me up.

“Homecoming Queen” by Thelma Plum

The lyrics in the song talk about not fitting in because of the colour of your skin and this theme very concisely explains how I felt during my high school years.

“Native Tongue” (feat. The Pasefika Vitoria Choir) by MO’JU (FKA MOJO JUJU)

This song is about reclaiming parts of yourself when you are older that you didn’t have access to.

“Waniska” by Kym Gouchie

Waniska means “wake up and rise” in Cree and it gives me that sensation to get up and get it done!

“A.O.K” by Adrian Eagle

Great feel good song.  Written by a son of a single mother whose overcome a lot of challenges.  It lifts the spirits.

“My Roots” by Fara Palmer

This song makes me cry.  The songs narrative is rooted in yourself and your identity.

“Power in the Blood” by Buffy Sainte-Marie

Powerful song that is so empowering.

“How I Feel” (feat. Leonard Sumner & Shad & Northern Voice) by A Tribe Called Red

This song is about overcoming adversity, especially with regard to Indigenous history in Canada, and the song narrates some of the experiences that have occurred to me.

Celeigh Cardinal achieved one of Canada’s highest musical accolades in 2020, a JUNO Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year. She also received two Western Canadian Music Awards nominations, including Indigenous Artist of the Year and Songwriter of the Year. With two full-length albums completed and a future release in the planning stages, as well as a burgeoning radio career at CKUA Radio and CBC Edmonton, her voice is one that is becoming a pillar of Canada’s Indigenous community. Find her on Twitter at @celeighcardinal.