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Nim­i’idi­win col­lec­tive mem­ber Justin Bear inter­views Chuck Cope­nace about his new album Osh­ki Man­i­tou, and mix­es Chuck­’s selec­tion of Nin­ja Tune tracks by Photek, Amon Tobin, and oth­ers inter­spersed with brand new tracks from Osh­ki Manitou. 

Orig­i­nal­ly hail­ing from Keno­ra ON, with his ances­tral roots in Ani­ma­kee Wazhing 37, Osh­ki Man­i­tou’ finds the now Win­nipeg-based, Ojib­way musi­cian expand­ing dra­mat­i­cal­ly on his pre­vi­ous work as a trum­pet play­er, arranger, and com­pos­er. Fus­ing con­tem­po­rary inter­pre­ta­tions of sweat-lodge melodies with jazz and ele­ments of dance and elec­tron­i­ca.

Copenace’s dis­tinc­tive voice and approach allow him to uni­fy a wide range of styles beau­ti­ful­ly in a way that’s hon­est and inno­v­a­tive in equal mea­sure. I shy away from tra­di­tion­al­ists,” he explains. When some­one says, this isn’t how music should be done’ or if you’re play­ing this genre of music, this shouldn’t be there.’ That’s always both­ered me.”

The result is a col­lec­tion of emi­nent­ly groovy, haunt­ing, and, at times, ethe­re­al songs that dis­play Chuck Copenace’s sig­na­ture voice and sub­stan­tial skills as an inter­preter, com­pos­er, and per­former as nev­er before. But that’s only part of the equa­tion, he says, cit­ing a larg­er pur­pose behind his efforts, for which Osh­ki Man­i­tou’ is just a start­ing point. I’m com­mit­ted to shar­ing my sto­ry to help heal and offer sup­port to peo­ple, and I want to intro­duce young peo­ple to jazz, but I also want to bring indige­nous musi­cians togeth­er. And I think my music can be a plat­form to fur­ther that mission.”

Dur­ing his career, Cope­nace has per­formed wide­ly across Cana­da, the USA, and inter­na­tion­al­ly. He’s also played with a wide range of Win­nipeg artists, made numer­ous tele­vi­sion appear­ances, gar­nered play on CBC Radio on shows like Unre­served, and released his 2017 debut, EP 1. More recent­ly, Cope­nace col­lab­o­rat­ed with Tom Wil­son and iskwē on Blue Moon Dri­ve’ (2020) and Star­less Nights’ (2021) and per­formed with the pair live at the 2020 Ind­spire Awards.

Artist Song Album
Photek The Hidden Camera
Sordid Amon Tobin
Chocolate Weasel Music for Body Lockers