Have you booked your tickets? On July 5, the AGO is staying up late to host First Thursday: Resurgent Homelands. Celebrating both the reopening of the newly renovated (and renamed) J. S. McLean Centre of Indigenous & Canadian Art and Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak, this edition of the AGO’s monthly art party promises to be a night of Indigenous storytelling, artful conversations and the best of contemporary music.
We’ve already told you about the upcoming performance of storyteller Taqralik Partridge, one of the co-curators of Tunirrusiangit: Kenojuak Ashevak and Tim Pitsiulak. Also on the lineup of stellar artists performing at First Thursday: Resurgent Homelands is northwest coast Indigenous influenced hip-hop duo Mob Bounce, bringing a powerful combination of social justice and electronic beats. As the evening’s headlining act, they’ll take to Walker Court’s stage at 10 p.m.
Co-presented by the AGO and Revolutions Per Minute (a new platform for Indigenous music from around the world), headliner Mob Bounce is renowned for EDM-infused hip-hop rooted in community and culture. This talented duo from northern BC includes The Northwest Kid and Heebz the Earthchild, known for performing on the New Constellations tour, opening on Gord Downie’s The Secret Path tour, performing at festivals across Canada, and for their workshop series encouraging Indigenous youth to express their identity through music and the arts.
In anticipation of July’s event, the last First Thursday before autumn, we spoke to Mob Bounce’s Earthchild and The Northwest Kid about their music, their inspirations and what Indigenous music making means to them.
AGO: We are so excited you’ll be performing at July’s First Thursday. How do you describe the music you create? Is there a certain feeling you aim to capture?
Earthchild: I would describe our music as being what hip hop originated as, a space for an oppressed people to rise above the realities we have experienced historically and currently. We have many influences that make up the sound, but it’s the lyrics that challenge listeners with our own views. We don’t set out to only speak about social, political, and environmental issues, but as Indigenous people these are themes that are embedded in our lives, and we don’t have the option to ignore them. Art reflects life, and both Craig (The Northwest Kid) and I have used our platform to share our processes for personal healing as well as tackling the many challenges facing our world. We didn’t set out to capture a specific feeling, we express what’s within. And we are fortunate that people resonate with that.
AGO: The theme for July First Thursday is Resurgent Homelands. What does this mean to you?
Earthchild: “Resurgent Homelands” to me sounds like a dream. It sounds like an affirmation. It sounds like an ideal for Indigenous communities who have been removed and displaced. The word “resurgent” has been common in Indigenous activism through social, political, and environmental work. It brings up the notion of healing and reviving spaces that have been taken from us.
AGO: Your music is noted for its lyricism. What poets/writers do you see as kindred spirits?
The Northwest Kid: I don’t know about kindred spirits, but we admire many artists and their artistry. One artist we’ve both admired for years is Kendrick Lamar. Aside from big names, we’re inspired by many peers in the Indigenous music scene.
AGO: Your work is socially engaged, tackling both social justice and environmental issues. If you could ensure that your audiences take away just one message, what would it be?
The Northwest Kid: To use your heartbeats wisely and to work towards shifting perspectives that are open to it.
See Mob Bounce perform this week at First Thursday: Resurgent Homelands on July 5. Get your tickets now!
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