A Tribe Called Red: Revolutionizing Electronic Music

This Canadian Band embraces their Native Heritage.

November 2, 2016



Over the past few centuries, news stories regarding Native American or Aboriginal tribes have been usually either been absent or negative. Many people know the Trail of Tears, the smallpox genocide, and recently the Dakota pipeline controversy. Mainstream media covers mostly one side of Native-American culture: pain. That’s why music groups like “A Tribe Called Red” is especially important in contributing positive or inspiring music made for and by First nation people.

A Tribe Called Red consists of band-members, DJ NDN, Bear Witness, and 2oolman, who collaborate on mixing native tribal rhythms with contemporary electronic beats.

This technique unites the young with the old, the modern with the traditional. The finished product becomes a composition of thought-provoking melodies and four-by-four beats.

Their group is infamously known for “Native Puppy love,” a song that debuted on a tampon commercial; “Electric pow-wow drum,” and recently “Burn your village to the ground.” According to Historica Canada, they have collaborated with people like Northern Cree and Angel Haze, who are also native musicians.

A Tribe Called Red is a hit with the youth. Not only do they portray of a modern outlook on First Nation culture, but they also have a political consciousness that resonates with today’s current events.

According to Historica Canada, the group debuted a song called “Woodcarver,” inspired by John T. Williams, who was killed by a Seattle police officer in 2010. Their activism goes further than just music when it comes to cultural appropriation (i.e. Redskins) and discrimination.

Recently, non-native music listeners were seen wearing native headdresses, a huge disrespect to native culture. That’s why this group has a strict rule for music festivals: anyone red-facing or wearing feathered headpieces will not be given admission to the show.

Their music fits perfectly with the times. It is a fresh perspective on native music and electronic music. They have songs that sound like battle anthems and just make people feel pumped and ready to take on the world. They are an example of First Nation people triumphing discrimination and degrading stereotypes. It’s almost like their music is saying “We are still here, and we’re stronger than ever.”

Their albums are on Youtube and Spotify. Their most recent album, “We Are the Halluci Nation” was released in late June. They will also be playing at The Crocodile in Seattle on November 16.

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