Laura Niquay: a song like a cry

Laura Niquay: a song like a cry

MISE À DAY

Laura Niquay has just won the TD Indigenous Songwriter Award from The SOCAN Foundation. “I see myself as a messenger; I have to help the world and appease them with my music”, explains the songwriter from the community of Wemotaci, in Mauricie.

On her latest album Waska Matisiwin (Circle of Life), Laura Niquay sings in Atikamekw – the language in which she grew up – and in French. Merging indie, folk and rock styles, it was this second opus that won him the SOCAN Foundation award created in 2018 to highlight the talent of artists from Indigenous communities in Canada. 

< p>“I walked a long time for this,” explains the 40-year-old artist who was at the Festival d’été de Québec on July 13. “I started playing the guitar when I was eleven and singing when I was 15-16. Finally, I am heard as a songwriter! You just have to believe. I am very grateful.”

These are precisely the pieces Moteskano (The paths of our ancestors) and Nicto Kicko(Three days) which allowed him to win this honor. The first is a story of snowshoes and moccasins, objects representing the transmission of knowledge from grandparents to Aboriginal children. The second speaks of his father who, one New Year's Eve and for three days, did not respond to his family. And from the moment they realized that it was because he was wearing headphones that he had never heard their worried knocks at the door. 

This album, which she sees as a message of hope and resistance, was also one of the 40 albums nominated for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize in Canada. 

“We are all human and we all have our difficulties and our problems, adds the one that this prize has motivated to work on her third album, on which she will explore the sounds of the blues. Humans, we have all moods. Singing and composing is also therapy for me. Don't be afraid to sing and shout.”

Role model for young people

This award, she says, gives her great encouragement to continue to create and share the values ​​instilled in him by his grandparents. Values ​​related to the earth and the four elements.  

“I want to share my culture and my language in addition to knowing people who come from everywhere and who have a culture different from mine. to share me”, adds the one who makes a point of articulating well in show so that all audiences can sing with her.  

Aware of having become a kind of model for young Indigenous artists who are increasingly coming to ask her for advice, Laura Niquay sees this award as a way to show them that anything is possible, if you really believe in it.

► To find out about the next Laura Niquay show dates: fr-ca.facebook.com/Lauraniquay.music