Mimi O’Bonsawin, Me:She, Mike T. Kerr and Angel Baribeau
Mimi O’Bonsawin – “Tug O War” single (Release date: July 19, 2020)
Originally from Sudbury and now based in Toronto, Mimi O’Bonsawin makes music that evokes the northern Ontario landscape and reflects her French Canadian and Abenakis roots. She has already earned Best Pop Record honours at the Indigenous Music Awards and shared stages with Buffy Sainte-Marie, Crystal Shawanda, Francesco Yates, Tom Wilson and others. And her songs have been heard on Showtime’s Ray Donovan TV series and on APTN’s Mohawk Girls.
This single comes from Mimi’s brand new EP, Elle Dance, which just came out last Friday. It’s a lovely, airy collection that showcases Mimi’s distinctive vocal style – one that has the understated, girlish quality of popular modern francophone singer-songwriters like Chloe Sainte Marie and Carla Bruni. If Mimi sounds this good in her mid 20s, I can’t wait to see where she goes from here.
Me:she – “Nebulous Cloud” (Release date: July 23, 2020)
Is it roots music? What is roots music? I don’t know sometimes. All I know is this is one of the coolest things that’s showed up in the Moose’s inbox in a while. This song pairs Me:she’s seductively deep voice with some bubbly, bassy synth; evocative horn; what sounds like Middle Eastern percussion and some other Middle Eastern sounds in the background. The overall impression is arty and captivating, and so is this video, which is Just. So. Cool.
Me:she calls herself “a free-spirited gypsy musician with the soul of a jazz singer and the playfulness of a burlesque performer.” Sounds about right to me. I can’t wait to hear more from her.
Mike T. Kerr – Spring Garden Bandstand (Release date: Sept. 26, 2020)
You may not recognize Mike’s name, but back in the days when we went to live concerts, you probably saw him play. He’s toured with celebrated singer-songwriters like William Prince and Irish Mythen and done regular gigs in Toronto with acts like Campbell Woods and Corin Raymond. He’s a versatile player who can pick out anything from a bluegrass number to a hot jazz lick. This isn’t Mike’s first solo album, but it does have a really cool story to it: the instrumental numbers were all composed by his grandfather, Dan Leeman, who is now 95 and living in Ottawa.
Angel Baribeau – “Wish We Were Older” (Release date: July 24, 2020)
Goddam does Angel Baribeau ever have a compelling voice. The queer, non-binary Cree sing-songwriter originally from Misstissini, QC has an immense versatility as a vocalist, shifting from the vulnerable, fractured delivery of “Wish We Were Older” to the distinctive, power pop of “Need” and the ethereal melancholy of “Going Home.”
And “Savage” is as pointed a protest song as has ever been written about colonialism and the hypocrisy of white supremacy. It perfectly samples MP Romeo Saganash telling Parliament that the Prime Minister doesn’t give a fuck about Indigenous rights.
Angel’s been performing solo for more than six years now, and they’ve been playing music since their youth. It’s a mystery to me that they weren’t all over the festival circuit before COVID shut it down. ADs, if you’re taking notes for your post-pandemic productions, add Angel to your lists.