Though music varies from nation to nation, most traditional Indigenous music relies heavily on percussive instruments, in particular drums. There is a connection drawn between drumming and the heartbeat of both people and the Earth. Further, drums are circular in shape, an important symbol for First Peoples. More contemporary First Peoples music still leans heavily on tradition, which we can see in the throat singing of someone like Tanya Tagaq. However, it also demonstrates a fusion of Indigenous and colonial cultures through the use of hip hop, dance music, and folk songs. Below we have linked a number of songs via youtube that give an overview of the varied music being created by First Peoples today.

  1. CBC Music has a livestream Indigenous music channel.

  2. Tanya Tagaq is an Inuit musician who uses the traditional form of katajjaq (Inuit throat singing) to explore a variety of themes.

  3. Buffy Saint-Marie is a well-known Canadian folk singer whose music has focused on issues of Indigenous peoples of America, as well as war, love, and religion.

  4. Tribe Called Red is an electronic music group that created the genre of "powwow step," contemporary powwow music for urban First Nations in the dance club scene. This group has been very politically active.

  5. Twin Flames combines Inuit and Metis stories with traditional Indigenous music, using Western and Indigenous instruments. The lyrics to their songs are spoken in Inuktitut and English.

  6. War Party is a Cree hip-hop group who were the first First Nations musicians to have a video on Much Music. Their lyrics typically focus on community-building.

Inuit throat singing, katajjaq, is a traditional contest wherein two female singers try to outlast each other. The songs are meant to replicate the sounds of nature, such as caribou and moose calls.