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‘An act of reclamation and defiance’: rising Cree star moves into new era

For Cree singer-songwriter Siibii, altering their title and reclaiming their Indigenous id feels good. 

“With my Eenou title, I really feel a lot extra well-equipped. I really feel pleasure and I really feel a confidence,” mentioned the 22-year-old Montreal-based artist from the northern Quebec Cree neighborhood of Mistissini. 

They used to carry out beneath their beginning title Angel Baribeau. On Monday, they launched their first video as Siibii, a Cree phrase that means “river.” Siibii additionally intends to legally change their title to Siibii Petawabano, the Cree household title of their mom.

“It feels real, it feels so beautiful, and it appears like an act of reclamation and defiance,” they mentioned.

Siibii identifies as trans, queer and non-binary and makes use of they/ them pronouns. 

Vulnerable first launch

The track is named YOY and Siibii mentioned making it the primary launch of an upcoming self-titled album was a aware option to be extra weak of their artwork than they’ve ever been.

“I needed a weak have a look at Siibii and particularly round my psychological sickness and reflecting on my coping mechanisms,” they mentioned.

Since releasing their debut EP, For Those I Love(d) in 2020, the 22-year-old has been gaining followers and successful awards with their breathtaking vocals and lyrics.

In 2021, they have been the grand prize winner of Canada’s Walk of Fame RBC Emerging Musician Program and gained a Young Canadian Songwriters Award, introduced by the SOCAN Foundation, for his or her track Love is up the River.

This yr, they have been a runner-up in CBC Music’s Searchlight competitors. 

In 2021, Siibii was the grand prize winner of Canada’s Walk of Fame RBC Emerging Musician Program and gained a Young Canadian Songwriters Award, introduced by SOCAN Foundation, for his or her track Love is up the River. (Nicolas Gouin)

Dropping their beginning title of Angel and performing and recording now as Siibii is a crucial step in shedding colonial trauma, they are saying.

“I noticed I used to be uncomfortable with my title as a result of it is biblical,” Siibii mentioned. 

Gookum Eva

“Things that my very own blood and members of the family have needed to survive and how a faith grew to become a weapon to them,” they mentioned.

Siibii could be very near their gookum [grandmother], Eva, a religious Christian, who went to residential college. 

Eva solely shared one story about her time at residential college, a couple of younger woman and fellow pupil who stole cake to share with ravenous youngsters after the nuns put them to mattress. 

“She would giggle [and say] ‘oh, it was foolish of her to go and steal cake’, however for me the lesson of that story was ‘oh, some courageous little woman broke the foundations in order that she might assist individuals who have been ravenous’,” Siibii mentioned, including the choice to sing beneath an Eenou title is an element of the work that their grandmother did. 

“For myself, that actually means being proud as being Eenou. Something that is tremendous essential to me is illustration. And for me that is representing Eenou youth from my nation,” Siibii mentioned. 

Love is up the River

As Siibii’s star continues to rise, they are saying their reference to Cree conventional territory of Eeyou Istchee retains them grounded.

“I’d have aunties and gookums and any person’s uncle come as much as me and inform me what a track did for them or what a track meant to them, and I feel for me that feels essentially the most real. It feels essentially the most beautiful,” Siibii mentioned. 

Siibii will even be the featured artist at CBC North’s Cree unit anniversary, arising on Nov. 24 in Montreal. Cree Radio is marking its fiftieth anniversary this yr and Cree tv is marking its fortieth anniversary. 

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