nêhiyawak hails from amiskwaciy (Edmonton) on Treaty 6 territory. On the band’s debut album, nipiy – out October 24 on Arts & Crafts – the trio of Indigenous artists – Kris Harper (vocals, guitars), Marek Tyler (drums), and Matthew Cardinal (synths, bass) – transcends a new intersection of traditional storytelling and contemporary sound. A collection of songs strongly inspired by the Idle No More movement, says Harper, “nipiy is for those who don’t seem to fit in for myriads of reasons. To inspire others to use their voice and to send messages to future generations.”
nêhiyawak – whose name refers directly to their nêhiyaw ancestry – is a spirited expression of Indigeneity. nipiy, which translates to water, is the title of nêhiyawak's first full length album. The flow and pace of the album, symbolic of the flow and pace of water, begins and ends with pieces dedicated to kisiskâciwanisîpiy (North Saskatchewan River), a river that flows through the center of amiskwaciy. In the band's words, “There are many important ideas and teachings that we were raised with in our lives, but few more important that water. It’s a modern conversation with complex meanings and understandings. Our record is dedicated to the life-giving force of water.”
Produced by Colin Stewart (The New Pornographers, Black Mountain, Destroyer), nêhiyawak’s sound combines terse post-rock soundscapes and surreal pop, with sheer electronic ambience, chiming guitars, and propulsive rhythm. At times grand and emotional, at times cool and reticent, their music is a tapestry of sonic and cultural exploration. Anchored by the hollowed pounding of carved cedar log drums and Harper’s resilient poetry, nipiy combines the teachings of nêhiyawak’s Elders with the band’s own interests in music, instrumentation and lyrics. nêhiyawak’s debut album tells their story of collective experience – a band empowered by history and progress, adding to the body of work.
released October 24, 2019
kris harper: vocals and guitar
matthew cardinal: synthesizers, guitar and bass
marek tyler: drums and percussions
lyrics by kris harper
arrangements by nêhiyawak
produced and mixed by colin stewart
recorded at the hive, victoria, british columbia
mastered by denis blackham at skye mastering, isle of skye, uk
nêhiyawak hails from amiskwaciy (Edmonton) on Treaty 6
territory. Comprised of Kris Harper, Matthew Cardinal, and Marek Tyler - three Indigenous musicians coalescing at the intersection between traditional and contemporary music....more
A friend of mine originally introduced me to Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. One year or so later, after my tastes in music expanded a lot, I found it on Bandcamp, and then immediately bought it. It is such a lovely album, and it’s origins are important (read the description, it can tell you better than I can. Words are hard). It is absolutely worth listening to.
Thank you for making these songs and for how you showed this music’s origin. Kamani