Following their Indigenous Emerging Artist Mentorship in October 2020, and their Indigenous Artists Safe at Home Festival Concert this past March, these artists are ready to tour Manitoba:
Indigenous Artists Martin Desjarlais, Becky Lou, riel. and Norway Rabliauskas, along with performing artists Rhonda Head and Desiree Dorion, are touring to 10 Indigenous communities and 10 non-Indigenous communities during the summer of 2021.
Concerts to Indigenous communities will be provided free of charge, while we ask for a $500 contribution from non-Indigenous communities. The concerts will provide a wide range of music styles, entertainment, and experiences.
Meet the Artists:
Martin Desjarlais, is Metis singer and songwriter from Winnipeg Manitoba. Growing up in a musical family, Martin began playing and singing at a young age. He honed in his musical skills through the cadet music program and various musical camps and workshops. Some of his biggest musical influences include Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, Hank Williams JR and Merle Haggard to name a few. His sound features classic country flare, with a modern Country-Rock twist. Martin is sure to have you dancing and toe-tapping in no time!
Watch Martin’s performance here.
Becky Lou: Becky grew up in the gateway to the Duck Mountain, a Métis village named San Clara, MB. When she was 4, she sang “Honey I’m Home” by Shania Twain at Back to Batoche Métis Days. Eventually she picked up the guitar and learned basic chords from my dad, Douglas Martin. The last few summers she sang at the Roblin Rodeo and Agricultural Society. Recently Becky received 3rd place at the Muskeg Hidden Indigenous Talent Contest 2020 by Indigenous Music. Becky can be found on Facebook at Becky Lou Music. Becky says “she has always sang because she loves to”. Watch Becky’s performance here.
Norway Rabliauskas lives in Poplar River First Nation with his family which consists of his wife and three children. Norway grew up in Winnipeg but frequently visited back home in Poplar River. About 15 years ago he moved home to raise his family. He’s held numerous jobs around the community and started singing songs about 10-12 years ago. Norway started writing songs about 4-5 years ago. He’s entered multiple Talent Shows over the years including 3 NCI Jams, in which in the latest one in 2019 he placed 3rd. Some of his influences in music are The Tragically Hip (Gord Downie) and Blue Rodeo and his favourite genres to sing are Blues, Rock, and Country. Watch Norway’s performance here.
riel. is a Métis Canadian Folk Artist that started performing in Thompson Manitoba in 2015. Since then he has performed at various settings such as coffee shops, house shows, arenas, live performance venues, and festivals across the country. He has been fortunate enough to perform with well-established folk artists such as Joshua Hyslop who has garnered over 130 Million streams on Spotify. RIEL’s unique style of storytelling incorporates a strong sense of family values, culture, as well as a love for Manitoba and the Prairies. Louis Riel once said “Our People will sleep for One Hundred years. But when they awake, it will be the artists that give them their spirit back. Which holds true to RIEL.
Watch Riel’s performance here.
Rhonda Head has received 14 nominations in total and won six international music awards since she began her music career in 2010. Rhonda has had the opportunity to perform in some of the most amazing venues – Carnegie Hall, the Lincoln Centre, the Viper Room, the Opening and Closing Ceremonies for the 5 Lands Walk Festival in NSW, Australia, and numerous other venues. Rhonda also recently released an autobiography called Mezzo-Soprano – Memoirs of a Rez Girl. It wasn’t always an easy road for Rhonda, she was diagnosed with a brain tumour when she was 22. Rhonda took a year off to recuperate from the 11.5 hour surgery. When she thought her life was back on track she received devastating news when she was 30 that the tumour grew back. Once again, she took time off and took care of her health. Despite the setbacks and challenges, Rhonda continued to follow her passion of music.
Rhonda is pleased to share her music with you. Rhonda says, “Follow your heart, before your mind changes it.”
Desiree Dorion’s fifth studio album Break the Chain was released in February, 2020. Exploring the themes of poverty, resilience, breaking the cycle of violence, family ties and Jack Daniels, Desiree’s music and lyrics are a reflection of the world around her. You can hear the emotional weight of these themes in her vocal. A departure from her previous albums, she has incorporated a hint of pop into her country music style with Break the Chain.
About the 2020 Indigenous Emerging Artist Mentorship Intensive:
Artists will develop lasting relationships with the mentors and learn many of the skills needed to further their growth as musicians. This program is for musicians, in the early stages of their career, that have never showcased before. Over the course of 2.5 days musicians will learn about: applying to showcases, jury process, performing to 40+ buyers and networking. This program will produce musicians ready for professional provincial, national & international showcases.
Key learning components of the mentorship will include:
-On the last day of the mentorship each participant will perform three songs which will be recorded and edited and distributed as part of the online showcase/pitch.
-Master Class – an intimate circle with mentors and emerging artists – mentors will take turns performing and will have a Q & A.
-One on One mentorship
-Power Point Presentation on MAN Showcase
Due to Covid-19, in lieu of live performance showcases (which in previous years occurred at our annual conference in October, which is cancelled this past year) we will coordinate online showcases/pitches for the emerging Indigenous artists to an audience of 25+ rural and remote host communities/presenters (Indigenous and non-indigenous). Each Artist will have an opportunity to present their showcase reel followed by a short interview and moderated Q&A.