February 14, 2009

SingSoulGirl Brings It

Sto:lo songwriter and singer Inez brings a lot to the world in her latest CD "SingSoulGirl".  Between the mixture of traditional bonegame chanting songs, or the ancestral ceremonial speak in 

"Iy siiyam ti siiyaya
Friends and relatives
The work we are going to do today
is get our elders to speak to us young people
iy siiyam"

followed by Inez's soulful execution in words

"walk through my door, have a seat, open up, listen up, hear the people speak".  
The album is this kind of  identity conveyed through ancient melodies with smashed in beats to build what clearly expresses as pride, strength, and the sheer love for herself, her people, and what this is in a musical form.

The CD can be listened to here: (Click Here).  I recommend #6 & #8.

What can I say: I'm a critic.  I am sharply critical of forms of human genius like art, music, and word out of a deep appreciation of the best in the human mind.  The contextual history of some of these artforms fuels my respect and admiration, sometimes to the point of an infatuation with that context, then what that artform actually produces.  

Hip hop is no exception to this.  Born out of a need for ghettoized youth from America to build within themselves a mean to rise up in strength for their stories, their lives, their context in a racialized America.  Of course, like all counter-culture and underground culture movement, corporate America desire to devour everything in its disgusting appetite produced a harmful effect on hip-hop to this day.  As another favorite hip-hop group Blue Scholars said, "I heard a few heads say Hip-hop is dead/No it's not,/It's just malnourished and underfed".

This is the reason I was always critical of native hip-hop.  Still am to an extent.  I always felt it lacked that same beautiful potential I admire about the artform being produced, and what I felt was imitation and culture envy among our indigenous youth.  It's not meant to be a blanket statement across all who identify within that artistic label, but a common experience in social groups I live in.  I have been to, heard, and experiences many talented native youth hip-hop artists who impressed me with style, lyrical content, passion, or what they were able to accomplish with the artform within their context by bringing it into a more personal transformation, then making it the opposite of personal to perform.

Inez, I think you've changed the shape of my perception. (Don't worry, that's a compliment...haha).  This album is not only uplifting in it's convergence of ancient culture with contemporary context, it speaks volume to the potential and talent of our young people connecting with ancient wisdom and culture.  That is our context, is it not?  That as indigenous youth we thick in this dirty mess of empowering concept of the world (that which is our culture) and contemporary forms of expressing very personal and individual intentions?  This album raises the pride.  It uplifts the soul.  It an empowerment to Coast Salish indigenous youth.  It's ambitious and bold, but it works.

Okay, I better stop now because I know Inez will most likely read this blog post on my Facebook page and it could go to her head...haha (Nah, she's to cool for that to have a lasting effect anyways).  Maybe it's just infatuation with something new and fresh.  All I know is, music hasn't made me this proud to be indigenous, to be born in this lifetime, and to be an indigenous born in this lifetime like listening to this CD tonight has.

u siyam Sto:lo slulem welhaynexw slháneý-ullh. 
chen kwen men tumi na kílus slulem ti' sts'is. 
chexw exwa7t wenaxw iýím skwalwen-s.

[Respect and gratitude Sto:lo SingSoulGirl. 
I am thankful to you for your beautiful singing today.  
You give me pride & strength.]


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