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XP 2: How do people connect music to their heritage or lineage?

Some people think it is important to remember music from their heritage and lineage. One way of engaging with older music is by including it in our current lives and making it new.

Think About

  • Why would someone want to connect music to their heritage or lineage?
  • Should we care if older music that was important to someone’s heritage or lineage is forgotten?
    • Why or why not?
  • How do people connect music to their heritage or lineage?
  • How do people make older music relevant or new in their current lives?

Get Started

One way for people to connect older music that is a part of their heritage or lineage to their current lives is by sampling and remixing the music into newer versions.

Some Indigenous artists are reclaiming traditional songs and music from their cultures by sampling and remixing them with current styles such as hip hop and dance music.

Some artists also use this approach to resist colonization and the erasure of Native culture.

  1. Watch the following videos of Indigenous artists incorporating traditional music and culture in hip hop and dance music
  2. Think about your initial reactions and how the music connects heritage with contemporary times

Eye Got No String by Sacramento Knoxx

Woodcarver – by A Tribe Called Red

Indomitable by DJ Shub ft. Northern Cree Singers

Why by Supaman with Acosia Red Elk dancing in the video

  1. Now that you’ve listened to these four different examples, think about and answer the following questions: 
  • What were your initial reactions to each recording?
  • How does the music make you feel?
  • How are each of these artists connecting music and culture?
  • How are these artists connecting music to their heritage or lineage?
  • Why do you think they are taking this approach?
  • What does it mean to resist the erasure of one’s culture?
    • How could a culture be “erased?”
    • What role might music play in resisting the erasure of different groups of people’s culture?
  1. Now explore some of the perspectives of these artists 

Listen to Sacramento Knoxx explaining the story and history around the making of Eye Got No String:

  • At one point, Sacramento Knoxx says “keeping history alive.”
    • What does he mean by this?
    • Why would we want to keep history alive?
    • What does music have to do with keeping history alive?
  1. Listen to this interview with A Tribe Called Red on their approach to music, which is sometimes called Powwow-Step

  1. Read some of this article about A Tribe Call Red’s approach to music
  2. Read this interview with DJ Shub about Powwow-Step (you have to scroll down a bit for the interview)
  1. Watch this video of Christian Parrish (Supaman) discuss how and why he combines Hip Hop and his indigenous culture

  1. Consider the following questions:
    • How familiar are you with the music of your heritage and culture?
    • How could you connect the music of your heritage and culture with contemporary sounds and times?
    • If you could connect aspects of your heritage with music, would you? Why or why not?

Share What you Learned

If you are using the LRNG platform:

  • Go back, find out what to submit, and complete the XP
  • If you want, you can then learn even more with the optional “Go Further!” activities below

If you are not using the LRNG platform:

  • Continue below and share with your teacher or organization:

Sharing What You Learned

  • Write a brief description of your perspectives on these artists connecting heritage and music as well as the general idea of connecting heritage and music

Next Steps

Curious about learning more? 

Go Further! (optional) Learn more about people and music connecting indigenous culture to contemporary music

Go Further! (optional) Explore ways you can connect your own heritage and culture with music

Go Further! (optional) How can we respond to cultural stereotypes or tropes in music?


Move On

Return to the Connecting Music and Culture Music Learning Playlist