“nisis” by ASKO

Marek Tyler is nêhiyaw and Scottish/Irish, and while his name is on the project, ASKO is a gathering place of many collaborators and advisors. In some ways, Tyler is an oskâpêwis, listening deeply to the creative forces of his relatives. He follows the guidance of his câpân (great-great-grandfather), his mom, artist, educator and Knowledge Keeper, Linda Young of Onion Lake Cree Nation, his uncle Dale Awasis and advisor Diana Steinhauer. ASKO’s community doesn’t end here, though. ASKO includes the kinetics of pow-wow dancers following the heartbeat of the big drum and embraces the choreography of prairie chickens telling the stories of the grasslands. It is the voice of the wind and the songs of the bright blue sky.

Taking this all inside, Tyler responds with ASKO, a creative offering in the form of a soundscape echoing nêhiyaw life and ways of living. ASKO foregrounds these energies, inviting the listener into a rich gathering of the nêhiyaw creative practice across time and space, generations, and forms of life.

On the first single, “nisis”, Tyler says, “câpân Harper told a story about learning our culture from family. I was 15 when my uncle showed me how to play a round dance rhythm, and 49 when another uncle taught me one of our family’s round dance songs.”

The song was inspired by “a video of Seth Cardinal Dodginghorse dancing Chicken,” adds Tyler. “Seth’s slick footwork became the bass drum pattern, and their grace and beauty spiced up the track. Seth told me their story of learning Chicken and why they needed to pass it along. They said, ‘If they want to learn some moves, I can teach them.’ They reminded me of my uncles and nephews.”

Stream “nisis” HERE.


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