A Tribe Called Red - A Tribe Called Red


A Tribe Called Red is a true Canadian original. First listen is like an early summer jump in the lake; unnerving but ultimately refreshing. The trio of First Nations DJs, beat poets and sound designers gelled over the past two years with Electric Pow Wow, a monthly club night in Ottawa, Ontario showcasing Native spinners and Urban aboriginal culture. The project shook out three collaborators, DJs NDN, Bear Witness and later, two-time Canadian DMC champ, DJ Shub. The crew wire-up big electronic beats, angular synth patterns and traditional pow wow chants and drums in a one of a kind mashup that's fascinating, if not unsettling. They call it Pow Wow Step. The self-titled debut, released in association with fledgling Montreal-based on-line label, Masalacism is intense. There is little room for casual listening. To enhance the interest, the Tribe has expanded the project into a multi-media presentation that includes stirring videos which turn stereotypical First Nations imagery on its head. This is one live DJ show guaranteed to provide more stimulation than a guy in a baseball cap leaning over a couple of decks. Best of all, you don't have to wait to add the 11 track debut disc to your playlist. The crew has released it to the world FREE on the web at www.electricpowwow.com. Early favorites include the opening Electric PowWow Drum and eight tracks in they hit a sweet spot with Native Puppy Love. The selections include samples of Northern Cree chants and drums which can't be easy to find. It would be great if this bold experiment to paint a reflective picture of a modern, urban native culture that knows who it is and where it’s going, also results in the unearthing and archiving of audio samples of aboriginal traditions so they can be preserved for posterity. Surely, if anyone, A Tribe Called Red knows how to hook up with these resources. And, I hope there's enough material there to keep the PowWow Step going. It would be a shame if this were a one-trick pony, none-the-less; it's a pretty nifty trick.