Chilliwack’s own Inez Jasper is poised for the release of her long-awaited second release, Burn Me Down, on Aug. 1.
Inez modestly calls herself “a small-town girl from the rez” in her bio, but her polished and powerful songs, and upbeat style are likely going to smash through musical barriers with the latest work.
The 10 tracks on the new album are moving more into dance territory with pop elements and features by Fawn Wood, Jon-C, and samples of Sto:lo traditional singing by her cousin, BIG PHIL.
The Progress reported in April how the young powerhouse grew incensed during the video shoot in Chilliwack this spring for the first single, Dancin’ on the Run, when a noise complaint about the loud drumming brought out police to the reserve.
The life-affirming music video, directed by filmmaker Cowboy Smithx, sees Inez and friends on the run from the Indian Agent, an evil figure in black who catches them drumming and singing. They run to celebrate the survival of their vibrant culture, despite the efforts of the colonizers to wipe it out.
She said she found the complaint ironic, and felt it showed a distinct lack of understanding on the part of the neighbours. The song is actually an anthem to the survival of First Nations culture, in the face of the unconscionable Potlatch Ban of 1884.
These days more young indigenous people are encouraged to take up their culture with traditional drumming, dancing and singing, and Inez proudly came from that world in her youth.
“There were people who served jail time, or had to run from the Indian agent so they wouldn’t be caught practising their culture,” said Jasper, after the shoot on the Skowkale reserve.
During the cutting-edge video, the lyrics flash on the screen, explaining that one of the first people to be prosecuted under the hateful anti-potlatch laws was from Skowkale, bringing the whole story full circle for the local artist.
“Stories are coming out about the intricate network of messengers, and runners at the time who ensured we were not incriminated for being ourselves,” Inez said about the historical inspiration for her jubilant tune, Dancin’ on the Run.
The album is produced by her own label, Lets’emot Music.
She is beyond thrilled to be kicking off the album tour with an appearance at the 2013 Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards live on Sunday, August 21 on APTN.
For those who haven’t seen her impressive resume, Inez is a mom of two, a registered nurse, national role model and inspirational speaker, as well as being an award-winning artist.
After releasing her solo album, Singsoulgirl Inez won four awards, Best Album Cover, Best New Artist, Best Pop Album and Single of the year for Breathe f. Magic Touch at the 2009 Aboriginal People’s Choice Awards in Winnipeg, MB. She was also nominated for a Juno and a Western Canadian Music Award.
Inez has performed live at the 2009 and 2010 Aboriginal People’s Choice awards, 2010 & 2012 Aboriginal Day Live! and 2012 Indspire Awards. She has been featured on CBC Radio, Winnipeg’s Streetz FM and has hosted the television show, First Tracks on APTN for three years. In a few days the new album will be on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, Xbox Music and more.