EP 'Moments' captures experiences of Indigenous youth through collaborative music therapy project
EP paints a picture of resilience, friendship, connection to the land

Nikamo, the first artist collective to emerge from the Naskwahamâtowin music therapy project, has released the debut EP entitled 'Moments'. The initiative is a collaboration between Kehewin Native Dance Theatre (KNDT) and non-profit Make Music Matter (MMM).

Through sharing circles, songwriting, and recording, students were offered a safe space to communicate their feelings and talk about the weight they carry as survivors of intergenerational trauma. Together, they created five songs that paint a picture of resilience, the bonds of friendship, and connection to the land.

Title track “Moments”, “The Best Times”, and “Wîhcêkaskosîwi-sâkahikanihk” (translated from Cree as “Onion Lake First Nation”) talk about love and support from the community. “She Brings Healing” and “Mistatim” dive into traditional storytelling with teachings about the natural world.

Community Elders played an important role in the therapeutic process. “They aren’t scared to sit with the kids at their level. They share stories about subjects that can be difficult to talk about,” explains KNDT’s Rosa John. She says having an Indigenous-led team deliver the program in First Nations schools helped keep the students at ease.

Lead music producer and celebrated Indigenous artist Cindy Paul says, “As a Cree person myself I felt proud to go into the communities and share my knowledge with the kids. I do think it is important for the youth to see an Indigenous artist in a leadership role. It’s helpful to have existing cultural connections and an understanding of the barriers that they currently face.”

Paul witnessed students coming out of their shell with newfound confidence. “To give the students a platform to express their feelings, create their own narrative, and share their messages in song is a powerful tool and has the ability to bring the community together in a positive way.”

In celebration of their debut release, Nikamo performed at Studio Bell, home of the National Music Centre, in Calgary.   

Listen now to Moments, available to stream and download on all major digital platforms: https://lnk.to/MMMPMoments

Moments tracklisting: 

  1. She Brings Healing – produced by Cindy Paul, mixed by Carrie Armitage
  2. The Best Times – produced by Cindy Paul, mixed by Marc Meriläinen
  3. Moments – produced by Cindy Paul, mixed by Erman Aydöner
  4. Wîhcêkaskosîwi-sâkahikanihk – produced by Cindy Paul, mixed by Simon Pressey
  5. Mistatim – produced by Melvin John and Tony Duncan, mixed by Robbie Grunwald


Flute performance by Tony Duncan

Album mastered by Noah Mintz

Album artwork by Marc Leardi, based on a photo by Melvin John

Posted by: Make Music Matter on March 11, 2024.
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