Born in Montreal, Allison Russell — 4-time Grammy-nominated poet, singer, songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, activist and co-founder of Our Native Daughters (with Rhiannon Giddens, Leyla McCalla and Amythyst Kiah) and Birds of Chicago (with JT Nero) — is a multi-faceted tour de force.
In her critically acclaimed debut album Outside Child, she unpacks her youth through stories of deliverance and redemption, detailing the places, people, and realizations that helped her survive and claim her freedom.
Hailed as one of 2021’s best albums by a broad cross-section of the nation’s critics, the album continues to garner accolades and awards from many of music’s most prestigious outlets. “It’s an album of strength and affirmation, not victimization,” said The New York Times in their profile on Russell, ranking Outside Child #2 on their list of the Best Albums of 2021.
Outside Child received three Grammy award nominations in the Best Americana Album, Best American Roots Performance, and Best American Roots Song categories. In addition, Russell was awarded Album of the Year at the 2022 Americana Music Association Awards, four Canadian Folk Music Awards, the Polaris Music Prize, and two Juno Awards. Russell is the first Black artist to ever win a Contemporary Roots Album of the Year in Juno history. In 2023 she was nominated for an additional GRAMMY Award for her collaboration with Aoife O’Donovan.
Alongside the Rainbow Coalition Band – a talented ensemble of BIack and POC, queer, and historically marginalized musicians from across the U.S. – Russell uses the power of music in order to spread her message of the “Beloved Community” and is dedicated to lifting others upwards as her own star climbs higher.
In her own words: “We are more than the sum of our scars. We are the dust of the stars, the bones of the Earth, the breath of the void, the expanse of our imaginations, the arc of art, the love in our hearts. We lift each other up. We are the “Beloved Community” every time we choose to be. None above, none below, all are equal under the listening sky.”
Russell is slated to release new music later this year and an autobiographical memoir in 2024.
Special Guest: Aysanabee
Aysanabee, whose solemn and soaring vocals earned him his place as the first signee to Ishkode Records, the first Indigenous and women-owned labels in the country, was nominated for a 2023 Juno for his debut album, Watin, released on Nov. 4, 2022.
His hit single Nomads reached #1 on Alternative Radio, making him the first Indigenous artist ever to reach #1 on any media base chart.
In a whirlwind year, Aysanabee performed well over 100 shows across the country and around the world, but made his mark performing at the 2023 Juno Awards national broadcast featuring Grammy-nominated drum group Northern Cree, news agencies called it ‘the most moving performance’ of this year’s award ceremony.
Aysanabee is actively touring and playing festivals across Canada and Europe in 2023, and is set to release a follow-up EP in the fall.
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