Music PEI plans to host a workshop series aimed at strengthening engagement with the local Indigenous music community. The series consists of multiple workshops, and will be presented at both Lennox Island and Abegweit First Nations communities during Winter 2021/2022.
“Music is an integral part of the culture, history and spirituality of Indigenous people. Despite colonial pressures, music was a unifying force that brought our people together. Unfortunately, there is sometimes a disconnect between the industry and the Indigenous music community.” Says Tyler Gould, Music PEI’s Indigenous Representative, “Today’s announcement represents a great step in the right direction, as Music PEI looks to improve outreach, programming and support for our Indigenous musicians.”
A survey began circulating last week to help the organization determine what topics will be most beneficial to cover over the course of the series. Topics could range from drumming and songwriting, to professional development, and music industry support for artists.
“These are first steps and we have a long way to go to create safer spaces and real career development opportunities for our Indigenous communities, but we hope to continue to give a platform, support and a voice for those artists and aspiring industry professionals” said Music PEI Executive Director Rob Oakie. “Creating a dedicated seat on our Board and now designing programs and opportunities specifically for the First Nations communities we hope is a good start.”
Beginning June 20th, Music PEI will also be offering free memberships for members of PEI’s Indigenous communities.
Additionally, Music PEI partnered with FilmPEI in 2020 to launch the first Diverse Voices program targeted at the BIPOC and 2SLGBTQ+ communities to provide support for 3 artists to record and release a song. The program includes studio time, mentoring and publicity from Music PEI and a music video from FilmPEI. Submissions will be open once again in September. Young artists from the Indigenous community are encouraged to apply.
Music PEI is looking forward to the feedback the survey will provide about how to best support Indigenous artists on the Island through their programming. If you’d like to share your feedback with Music PEI regarding the development of their Indigenous-focused workshop series you can complete the survey here. Keep an eye out on future announcements by following them on social media – @MusicPEI on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.