OHSOTO’KINO: Blackstone Singers Talk Life on the Powwow Trail

Acclaimed nehiyaw (Plains Cree) powwow and round dance group Blackstone Singers talk about performing on the powwow trail, the bonds created and memories formed on tour, social media’s ability to propel powwow groups, and the power of powwow for healing.

David McLeod, Chair of NMC’s National Indigenous Programming Advisory Committee, spoke with a new generation of Blackstone Singers, who were the recipients of NMC’s OHSOTO’KINO Recording Bursary in 2023. The group received studio time at Studio Bell to record a commercial album, melding traditional instruments, modern instruments, and historic instruments from NMC’s collection. Stay tuned for the release of this special project!

Hailing from Treaty 6 territory, the Blackstone Singers’ roots are in Sweetgrass First Nation, Saskatchewan. Since its inception in 1987, Blackstone has travelled extensively throughout Turtle Island, winning numerous awards and world singing titles and championships over the years, while forging lifelong friendships and connections to communities along the way.

With support from TD, National Music Centre (NMC) is creating more opportunities for Indigenous artists through the OHSOTO’KINO initiative. OHSOTO’KINO is an Indigenous programming initiative focusing on three elements: creation of new music in NMC’s recording studios, artist development through a music incubator program, and exhibitions via the annually updated Speak Up! gallery.

Learn more: studiobell.ca/ohsotokino

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