nêhiyawak – band/group nêhiyawak hails from amiskwaciy in Treaty 6 Territory. The trio of Indigenous Canadian artists – Kris Harper (vocals, guitars), Marek Tyler (drums), and Matthew Cardinal (synths, bass) – transcends a new intersection of contemporary sound and traditional storytelling with its diverse yet singular music. The band – whose name refers directly to their nêhiyaw ancestry – is a spirited expression of Indigeneity in the modern world. At times grand and emotional, at times cool and restrained, their music is a diverse blend of terse post-rock, analog electronics, and carved log percussion against a beautiful surrealistic pop backdrop.
The band’s debut album, nipiy (Arts & Crafts, October 24. 2019) is a collection of songs strongly inspired by the Idle No More movement. “nipiy is for those who don’t seem to fit in for myriads of reasons,” explains Harper, “To inspire others to use their voice and to send messages to future generations.”
nipiy , which translates to water , is an inspiration to the album’s twelve pieces. Four primary rivers flow through the Province of ‘so-called’ Alberta, while the recognition of kisiskâciwanisîpiy denotes location and pace of the river’s flow. 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.”
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.
Awards & Nominations
●2020 JUNO Awards - Indigenous Group of the Year (Nominee)
●2020 Polaris Prize - Short List
●2020 Edmonton Music Prize - Winner
●2018 Edmonton Music Awards – Group of the Year
●2018 Western Canadian Music Awards – Rock Group of the Year (nominated)
●2017 Edmonton Music Awards – Indigenous Recording of the Year
●2017 Dream Speakers Awards – Best Original Score