Ombiigizi, pronounced om-BEE-ga-ZAY,meaning “s/he is noisy”, is a collaboration between Zoon (Daniel Monkman) and Status/Non-Status (Adam Sturgeon), both Native American Anishnaabe artists who explore their cultural histories through sound. Their work is an “amalgam of their unique Indigenous heritages and personal musical architectures” and they bring their families’ storytelling to their lyrics. The debut album Sewn Back Together will arrive via Arts & Crafts on February 10th.
Their debut single was released as “Residential Military,“ and was followed by the album-opening track “Cherry Coke”, dedicated to Monkman’s late father.
Daniel Momkman explains the meaning behind “Cherry Coke”:
I used to get into a lot of fights at school when I was younger. One of the schools was called “Happy Thought” which ironically was filled with racist rural farmer type folk. I think as a type of punishment my Mom sent me to live with my Dad on the Rez, so he could show me how to be a “man.” Although my Dad was a very complex human, he was very compassionate towards me, especially when I explained how the kids would tease me for being Ojibway. He’d always let me stay home with him and oftentimes we’d go to the Rez store for chips and pop; I’d get Cherry Coke or Vanilla Coke. The lyrics and song title are inspired by these memories of my childhood and of my father.
The family on Sewn Back Together includes the production duo of Kevin Drew of Broken Social Scene and Nyles Spencer of The Bathouse Studio. Recording there in fast and intentional sessions during the summer of 2021 alongside musicians Eric Lourenço and Drew McLeod, from Status/Non-Status and Zoon, respectively, helped steer this collection steeped in Shoegaze, Dream Pop, anthemic Rock, and more.
Liner Notes by Waubgeshig Rice:
The Anishinaabe revival is accelerating. Our artists are becoming more resurgent in all realms: telling the stories, singing the songs, and creating the imagery to further solidify our everlasting presence on this land. The soundtrack to this movement is diverse profound, and beautiful. The Anishinaabe sonic revolution is richly layered and wide-reaching, inspiring and influencing all generations to gather, sing, and speak, as we’ve always done. And at the core of this renewal are artists like OMBIIGIZI.
Adam Sturgeon and Daniel Monkman have come together in the spirit of making noise in a good way for our people. They have documented this moment in time while paying homage to the ancestors who kept our language and stories alive. There is a deep respect and love embedded in these songs for Anishinaabe sounds and voices. These songs proudly tell family and community stories, and they exquisitely conjure a hopeful future that will result from our current collective efforts to share our realities with each other and the world.
Sewn Back Together is a passionate journey. It meanders like a nurturing stream, weaving in and out of the tangible and spiritual worlds, as all time-honoured Anishinaabe stories and songs have done. It harkens back to ancient melodies and rhythms while using modern tools and instruments to centre us in our identities as the original storytellers of this land. It is essential listening as we forge our future and reclaim and revive who we are.