Aboriginal Music Manitoba and Manitoba Music Announce Inaugural sākihiwē Export Accelerator Participants

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sākihiwē Export Accelerator

Pilot Program to Explore Online Export Opportunities for Indigenous Artists in Canada

Aboriginal Music Manitoba (AMM) is excited to announce the 10 participants for the sākihiwē Export Accelerator. The pilot project, launched in partnership with Manitoba Music, will explore online solutions for export-ready First Nation, Inuit, and Métis artists who want to build audiences for their music outside of Canada.

The cohort will film and release performance videos, participate in online panel discussions with music presenters, and schedule online meetings with the festival producers and concert promoters who make the most sense for their music. Soulful Franco-Manitoban and Red River Métis singer/songwriter Andrina Turenne, triple 2024 JUNO Awards nominee Aysanabee, JUNO-nominated contemporary folk music duo Burnstick, JUNO-winning singer/songwriter Celeigh Cardinal, singer/songwriter and three-time JUNO nominee Don Amero, rock’n’roll singer and guitarist Garret T. Willie, hard rock duo Miesha and The Spanks, Inuit style throat singers PIQSIQ, Americana/alt-country duo The North Sound, and singer/songwriter Wyatt C. Louis have all been tapped to be a part of the accelerator.

Made possible through the Canada Council for the Arts, the accelerator will enlist the support of the Embassy of Canada to Mexico, the Embassy of Canada to Germany, and the High Commission of Canada in the United Kingdom to connect the participants with in-market consultants and music presenters in Mexico, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Canada. The project will also go through an extensive evaluation process at the end of its run in 2025 to identify its successes, challenges, and opportunities for growth.

“Music festivals introduce artists to audiences in cities around the world and showcases at music conferences are used to connect them with the people who book music festivals,” says Alan Greyeyes, the project lead and Festival Director for AMM. “Unfortunately, it can cost thousands of dollars for an artist or group to tackle just one showcase in one country, so we’re excited to pilot and test an online alternative to showcasing, with not one, but four countries.”

Métis and Polish artist and industry professional Ashley Bieniarz, aka Kwiat, will be supporting the work of the accelerator through its duration as Indigenous Music Export Coordinator, working with Greyeyes, along with the team at Manitoba Music.

Participant Profiles

Andrina Turenne

Through soulful melodies and woodsy motifs, Andrina Turenne tells stories through song, delivered in the spirit of road trips, kitchen parties, and bonfire gatherings. In Spring of 2023, the Juno award-winning Franco-Manitoban/Red River Métis artist released her first solo record, Bold as Logs. The bilingual, spirited debut has charted on independent radio in Canada and the US. Turenne is slated for several festival performances in 2024 including the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival. 



Aysanabee is an Oji-Cree singer-songwriter who went from growing up in the far-northern region of Ontario, living without electricity, to nominations for both of Canada’s prestigious awards, the JUNOs and the Polaris Prize. His debut album, Watin tells his grandfather’s story. Aysanabee made history in 2023 as the first Indigenous artist to reach number one on Mediabase Canada's Alternative Rock chart. In just over a year, he released his debut album, Watin, and his recent EP, Here and Now.



Music has been at the heart of this dynamic kinship since the duo met over a decade ago.  Burnstick's signature sound is driven by Jason's proficient playing of 100-year-old Weissenborn lap slide guitars, resonating intently with Nadia's rich and striking vocals.  Together, Burnstick pushes the boundaries of contemporary folk music.


Celeigh Cardinal

Celeigh Cardinal, a captivating performer known for her unique blend of humor and vulnerability, establishes profound connections with audiences through her compelling stage presence. In 2020, she earned the prestigious JUNO Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year, adding to her accolades from the CBC Music Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, and Edmonton Music Awards. Cardinal's musical journey, marked by chart-topping success on various countdowns, encompasses two full-length albums, with eager anticipation surrounding her third release in June 2024. Beyond music, she has made impactful contributions to film, television, and collaborated with The Walt Disney Corporation, solidifying her as a luminary on Canada's rich musical landscape.


Don Amero

Don Amero, a JUNO-nominated singer-songwriter, is known for his captivating storytelling. His EP 'Nothing is Meaningless', earned him a 2022 CCMA nomination. Amero also hosts a podcast, authored a children's book, and advocates for Indigenous communities. With his latest single, “Wheels Off” out now, Amero has recently released a new EP, “Six”.


Garret T. Willie

Garret T. Willie is an old soul masquerading as an uncommonly wise, weathered, witty and world-weary 23-year-old and he's about to give rock 'n' roll a formidable 21st -century kick in the ass. Willie is the personification of an open book in the lyric sheet to his debut record Same Pain. What he offers the world is something it has genuinely been missing for awhile: a contemporary take on hardscrabble blues and the purest and rawest rock 'n' roll to follow its teachings thereafter.


Miesha and The Spanks

A modern singer/guitarist and beloved fixture on the local scene, frontwoman Miesha Louie is the integral driving force behind Miesha & The Spanks. A mixed-Secwépemc artist living in Treaty 7 Territory, she’s devoted her entire career to inventing and playing instrumentally brilliant melodies that unleash her passions and her full-throated vocal tones. Percussionist Sean Hamilton (an accomplished singer/songwriter/multi-instrumentalist in his own right) is her psychic counterpart, intuitively punctuating her soulful choruses with a pounding intensity simultaneously that elevates heart rates and ceiling rafters.



With a style perpetually galvanized by darkness and haunting northern beauty, sisters, Tiffany Ayalik and Inuksuk Mackay, come together to create Inuit style throat singing duo, PIQSIQ. Performing ancient traditional songs and eerie new compositions, they leave their listeners enthralled with their multi-layered, spontaneously composed songs that blend tradition and technology.


The North Sound

At the heart of great songwriting is great storytelling. For The North Sound, songs are a declaration of joy, a hallmark of yearning, and a tender tale of honesty. Yet amidst the rawness, trials and tribulations, there are notes of hope and happiness. This is the duo at their best: Sharing stories in the way they know how.


Wyatt C. Louis

Walking the line between genres like an easy path rather than a tightrope, carried by textural and ethereal songs lifted up by stunning vocals,  Wyatt C. Louis’ debut album Chandler refers to simply their middle name. Louis (they/he), a Plains Cree singer-songwriter born and raised in parts of Treaty Six, lets that amalgamation of place shine through on these tracks, some of which came to life in the quiet and contemplative days of deep pandemic lockdown.


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