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ARCHIVED - Aboriginal Sound Recordings: Music and Song

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Recording Labels


Arbor Records

Founded in 1993 by Brandon Freisen in Winnipeg, Manitoba, this independent Aboriginal recording label is dedicated to elevating the quality of artists and their art, while helping them to compete in an international market. The label offers a vast array of contemporary powwow groups. Several of the label's contemporary artists, such as 2003 Juno winner Derek Miller, have earned major Canadian music awards.
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Boot Records

Boot Records was formed in 1971 in Toronto by Stompin' Tom Connors and Jury Krytiuk. The label released recordings by artists of various backgrounds and genres, such as the Irish-Canadian group the Shandonairs. Boot Records eventually expanded and promoted bluegrass groups and Aboriginal artists like Morley Loon and Willie Thrasher. It partnered with CBC Northern Service for distribution. The label was inactive by the end of the 1980s.
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Canyon Records

Beginning in 1951, Canyon Records, in Phoenix, Arizona, released more than 250 single 78-rpm recordings of traditional Aboriginal groups and solo artists. These were reissued on the 20-volume Vintage series in the late 1990s. The label focuses on American contemporary artists, but it also records several award-winning powwow groups from Canada. Canyon Records features award-winning artists including flute player R. Carlos Nakai and the Grammy and Juno nominated Northern Cree Singers, a Saskatchewan-based powwow group.
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Sunshine Records

Ness Michaels founded Sunshine Records in 1975 in Winnipeg, Manitoba. Sunshine Records is known for "going the extra mile" to help First Nations, Métis and Inuit groups get their music heard. It has produced recordings of country, rock, powwow, comedy, hip-hop and gospel music. Over the last three decades it has issued almost 900 titles.

Among the first artists signed to Sunshine Records were Métis fiddling legend Reg Bouvette and artists such as Winston Wuttunee and the Vic Thunderchild Singers.

One of Sunshine Records' greatest contributions to music has been its development of Aboriginal artists. It is a regular supporter of talent contests, and donates hundreds of hours of recording time to up-and-coming Aboriginal artists.

With international distribution, the label has earned several Canadian Aboriginal music awards. Juno winners include Burnt Project 1 (2006) and Eagle & Hawk (2002).
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Sweet Grass Records

Based in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, and established in 1993 by Ted and Darlene Whitecalf, Sweet Grass Records specializes in traditional and contemporary Aboriginal music from the Prairies. Its recordings have received five Juno nominations. The label won a Juno for its work with Buffy Sainte-Marie.

Sweet Grass Records distributes throughout North America and Europe. In addition to music, Sweet Grass Records also specializes in photography, video and print media production for the promotion of businesses and events.
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Turtle Island Music Inc.

Founded in 1996 in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Turtle Island Music Inc. is a recognized leader in the North American music industry, with numerous awards from major Canadian and American music associations. Turtle Island Music Inc. represents more than 30 Aboriginal and Métis recording artists working in contemporary and traditional genres.
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CBC Northern Service

CBC Northern Service started operations in 1959. Produced by Les McLaughlin from 1964 to 1980, its mandate was to record traditional and contemporary musicians from the Canadian Arctic for distribution throughout the region. Many of the recordings found their way on to radio, not only in the Arctic, but also throughout Canada. In the 1980s, CBC Northern Services partnered with Boot Records for wider distribution. Featured artists in the early years included Willie Dunn, Morley Loon and Alanis Obomsawin.
] (accessed March 2, 2007)