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Aboriginal Music Week, SNA partner up for block party

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Aug. 7 -- The C-Weed Band is one of many aboriginal performers that will be singing during Aboriginal Music Week. (SUPPLIED PHOTO) METRO

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Aug. 7 -- The C-Weed Band is one of many aboriginal performers that will be singing during Aboriginal Music Week. (SUPPLIED PHOTO) METRO Photo Store

Aboriginal Music Week (AMW) has partnered up with the Spence Neighbourhood Association (SNA) for the annual Spence Neighbourhood Association Block Party.

SNA executive director Jamil Mahmood said this will be the first concert the block party has ever featured.

AMW chairman Alan Greyeyes approached the SNA because he wanted to reach more aboriginal youth.

"They’re so well-connected to the community there, and our goal was to develop aboriginal youth as an audience," Greyeyes explained.

"(Alan) wanted to put on these community-based concerts and we jumped all over it. We thought it was a great idea," Mahmood said.

The block party, which will run from noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18, will take place at the Magnus Eliason Recreation Centre at 430 Langside St. There will be free food and activities for children. There will also be a concert with performances by DJ Miss Vee, Young Medicine, C-Weed Band, Leonard Sumner, and Kim Erickson.

With these aboriginal artists performing at the block party, Greyeyes is hoping to provide sneak peeks of what to expect during AMW, which will take place Aug. 16 to 21.

AMW is a six-day-long music festival featuring aboriginal artists from all over the world. Greyeyes said he invites artists from Canada and the United States, and he tries to invite one international artist each year.

"We’ve got two Aztec music producers coming from Mexico, so that’s really exciting," Greyeyes said.

"We have a series of concerts throughout Winnipeg to expose local audiences to the brilliance and music coming out of the aboriginal community. It’s really about people expressing the aboriginal experience through all types of genres."

There will be 28 acts at AMW, including Derek Miller, DJ Shub from A Tribe Called Red, and an Alberta-based band called Ghostkeeper.

Greyeyes said AMW is meant to showcase aboriginal talent in an industry that doesn’t always represent them well.

"The bigger festivals here in Winnipeg don’t book a lot of aboriginal artists," Greyeyes said. "We’re really trying to help aboriginal artists do music as full-time jobs."

Last year, Greyeyes and his team developed compilation CDs featuring artists who had performed at AMW.

"We send them to aboriginal stations across the continent," Greyeyes said.

Two-thousand CDs, featuring this year’s performing artists, will be available for distribution.

For more information about the SNA, visit spenceneighbourhood.org

For more information about AMW, visit www.aboriginalmusicweek.ca

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