Northern Cree band up for a Grammy L.A. bound

Chris Stewart
APTN National News
An Alberta based traditional singing group has been nominated for a Grammy award for the seventh time and is on its way to Los Angeles.

Northern Cree, are based out of Treaty 6 and have been performing since 1982.

Since then they’ve travelled and performed all over North America garnering various awards along the way.

They’re nominated in the Best Regional Roots category for their album “It’s a Cree Thing.” It features a steady rhythm of pounding drums and mesmerizing melodies in the style of round dance songs. They are the only Canadian traditional Indigenous group that has ever been nominated for a Grammy.

“It all starts from the drum,” explained Northern Cree member Joel Omeasoowood who said the group has its own unique sound that sets them apart.

“It symbolizes the heartbeat. There’s no other music out there like ours. Not just ours as a group but ours as native people. There is no pow wow music out there that can bring that energy. That raw energy.”

Longtime member Leroy Whitstone believes this will be the year to finally take the Grammy back home.

“We travel a lot to different communities. Since we’ve known that we’re nominated people are telling us this is the year,” said Whitstone.

Steve Wood is the groups founding member and is proud of maintaining tradition because it shows young people that anyone can reach their dreams.

“We live in our communities, we don’t live in cities, we speak our language. We read and write it. We go to our ceremonies. We are not going to forget that even if we garner the award, we are still going to go to our ceremonies. We are still going to do the same things that brought us here,” said Wood.

The group is preparing to perform and find out if they’re winners at the pre-televised ceremony this Sunday.

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Video Journalist / Edmonton

Chris Stewart has been in the media for 20 years. He has worked at CBC, Global and CTV as a news camera operator and editor. Chris joined APTN in 2012 in the Saskatoon Bureau and moved to APTN Edmonton bureau in 2015 as a Videojournalist.

1 thought on “Northern Cree band up for a Grammy L.A. bound

  1. Music is healing. The drum and singing work together for me for every mood. I am Cree and Northern Cree; makes me feel better and empowers me when I need strength.

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