Once you hear it, it makes total sense: a blend of hip-hop, reggae and dub-step with elements of the traditional dance music of Native American powwows.
It’s “powwow step,” a powerful, catchy sound that has carried the aboriginal DJ crew A Tribe Called Red from Ottawa, Canada to sold-out venues worldwide.
“All we really did was match up dance music with dance music,” Ian Campeau, a member of the group, said modestly.
But there’s much more to the rise of A Tribe Called Red, which hasn’t shied away from political issues as Canada wrestles with its brutal treatment of indigenous peoples through history. The three-man crew is part of a new generation of artists who are helping to redefine how aboriginal culture is viewed by the wider Canadian public, and articulate the need for greater aboriginal self-determination.