The Night Wanderer Book Trailer and Recommendations of Aboriginal Music

This week my friend Alison and I made a trailer for Drew Hayden Taylor’s The Night Wanderer. I gained a lot of respect for bloggers who do this regularly, I don’t think either of us anticipated just how much work this would end up being. I’m quite pleased with the final result though!

I also put together a double-sided single page infosheet with additional information for creating book talks for The Night Wanderer.

The Night Wanderer: A Book Talk Infosheet

(I realize I am pushing it a little in my interpretation of the phrase ‘single page’. If you’re pressed for time I kept the most essential content to the front page so you could just read that and go off sadly unaware of the critical success of The Night Wanderer)

In the novel, Tiffany’s grandmother often muses on how the Anishinaabe language is slowly dying out. After finishing The Night Wanderer, one of the things Alison and I decided we really wanted to do was highlight some Anishinaabe music in our trailer. This turned into a bit of a quest through various Aboriginal artists to find something that matched the tone we wanted in our trailer. I thought I’d share some of groups I checked out while searching!

A Tribe Called Red – This is a popular electronic music group based out of Ottawa. Their music brings together elements of hip-hop, electronica, and dubstep with traditional elements of Aboriginal music like drumming and chanting. I really like their songs Woodcarver and General Generations.

DJ Bear Witness – Bear Witness is an Ottawa-based DJ and visual artist. He’s Cayuga and specializes in dancehall tracks. Check out the music video for his song Brave Step, it’s really well done.

Bruthers of Different Muthers – I’m starting to think there’s something in the water in Ottawa; I hadn’t realized how many of the artists I wanted to highlight were from there till I started looking up their information. Anyways Bruthers of Different Muthers are a rock group. Their debut album Speakers of Tomorrow won Best Rock CD at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards in November 2011. Their title track Speakers of Tomorrow is definitely worth a listen.

And of course, the band whose music we actually ended up featuring in the trailer! The Whitefish Bay Singers have been preserving and performing traditional Anishinaabe music for over forty years now. Their profile on the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Award page offers a pretty good biography:

Naotkemegwanning (Whitefish Bay) is located on the shores of Lake of the Woods in the Treaty 3 territory, nestled in the forests of the Cambrian shield. Life in the community was steeped in the life, ways, and language of the Anishinaabe. However, during the mid-1900s alcohol became a major interference in the lives of the Anishinaabe. Detrimental effects of alcohol impeded the transmission of cultural identity through cultural and traditional life ways. It was during this time that a young man named Andy White realized that the culture, especially with the young men of the community, was being neglected. After consultation with the elders, Andy, along with his brothers Tony, Clarence, Tommy, and under the guidance of uncles Henry Bird, uncles and fathers Frank, Alphonse, John White and grandfather Baptist Bird, set out to invite the young men of the community to establish a drum group with the intention of preserving the songs of the community and reinvigorating the Anishinaabe identity. According to the elders, the drum was a gift from the creator and a major foundation of the Anishinaabe, without the drum we would cease to be Anishinaabe.

After more than 40 years, with descendants from the original singers, the Whitefish Bay drum continues to be invited to celebrations across turtle island, visiting old friends and making new friends. The Whitefish Bay Singers have recorded 15 albums to date. The latest offering titled “Est. (Established) 1970” is a collection of 15 tracks, released by Bear Tracks Media based out of Shawano, Wisconsin USA.

I edited a little for length and clarity but you can read the original biography here. I hope you enjoyed our trailer and a glimpse into some of the wide world of Aboriginal music it gave us the opportunity to look into!

Special thanks to the YA First Nations, Metis, and Inuit Materials presentation group; your website was a really helpful resource to us.

Related Posts

Head over to Alison’s blog to read our reflection on the process of creating this trailer!

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