Non-binary Cree artist Angel Baribeau releases new album, video featuring LGBTQ youth

Angel Baribeau has been song writing for as long as they can remember and credits their family for the influence.

From the Cree Nation of Mistissini in northern Quebec, Baribeau said there was always music in the house growing up.

“My grandmother was a musician my whole life and it took me a really long time to even realize that she was a musician because it was so natural that she would play guitar,” Baribeau told APTN News. “Even when her hearing was going she would always play guitar and she would like slam it.”

Besides their Gookum, Baribeau’s dad and other family members were an influence who “fed that fire.”

“For myself it felt really natural to go into the realm of music just because I loved singing and I loved song writing and I just loved music in general,” Baribeau said.

Angel started taking song writing seriously in 2014 at the age of 13 when they participated in a music creation workshop in Mistissini.

Baribeau remembers bringing their lyrics to the workshop which would be the first time hearing their voice recorded.

“It was crazy because I didn’t even want to go to the workshop. I didn’t want to acknowledge that I was a singer,” Baribeau recalls. “I guess I didn’t want to acknowledge what I had and I was afraid of success maybe? I don’t know.”

Thanks to an insistent friend Baribeau participated in the workshop and is grateful to have been forced out of their comfort zone.

“It felt really natural to go from that into really using it as my medium especially when I want to express myself and just create,” Baribeau said.

Watch Angel’s latest video here: 

Baribeau’s latest video, released last month, is called I Wish We Were Older and explores young love.

“I guess I would have to put myself back into like a thirteen, fourteen year old Angel’s shoes. At that point in my life I kind of recognized that, ‘oh we were both kids and you can’t start a life together if your both children,”

Baribeau reminisces with a laugh, “that’s kind where that sentiment began. ‘Well I can’t wait ‘till I’m older.’”

Baribeau accepts the honour that they are now a role model for Indigenous LGBTQ youth and the new music video is a valuable component of that responsibility.

They said it is important for youth to see themselves represented in the media as it helps them to realize that there is a place for them in society.

“I was like, ‘oh you know what? You were a little queer kid when you started writing this song, and you would have loved queer Indigenous representation when you were a wee one in love for the first time and just kinda’ discovering that world,” Baribeau recalled.

The title of Baribeau’s album is For Those I Love(d). Released last year, the EP consists of six songs: Wish We Were Older, Love Is Up the River, Need, Going Home, Savage and Last Goodbye.

Baribeau lives in Montreal but is currently back home in Mistissini completing a music residency, participating in artistic workshops for youth and hopes to continue working with youth in the future creating programming that would incorporate art and traditional knowledge.

For the near future Baribeau can’t wait to get back out there and perform for a large audience.

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