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Minneapolis, MN | Established. Jan 01, 2013 | SELF

Minneapolis, MN | SELF
Established on Jan, 2013
Solo Pop Reggae




"Native musician of all trades hits stage for the first time in Duluth on Thursday"

Posted: Aug 04, 2016 2:28 AM
Updated: Aug 04, 2016 2:28 AM

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) -- Minneapolis–based contemporary musician and visual artist Liam McDonald is Native American; his family's ancestry ties to the Mohawk Indian Tribe out of upstate New York.
However, that tribe bases enrollment on blood quantum, leaving McDonald ineligible for federal recognition.

"Blood quantum specifically doesn't define whether you have Native roots or where you come from. For me as a musician, I try to cross boundaries and raise questions and challenge people's thought on what it means to be a Native American in the United States," McDonald said.

This is just one of the many struggles McDonald says faces Natives across the country.

McDonald, who goes by the stage name Opliam, has found a way to incorporate his struggles into his music.

"I think I have learned a lot more about my history playing music. There's a song I have coming out that I'm gonna play at the show that's more about the Catholic church's involvement – especially with my tribe – the first Catholic–missionary mission with Natives was with my dad's Mohawk tribe. The song talks about separating people from Native communities and culture, and bringing them into the Catholic Church – assimilation."

McDonald's music fuses genres such as electronic, reggae and hip hop, plus he is an acoustic singer songwriter.

"Every song is like a different genre. We are trying to cross boundaries – by including addiction, poverty and other Native struggles," McDonald said.

McDonald has a history of relaying messages of Native activists in his music; for example, he participated in the Honor the Earth on the Water Not Oil Tour, which aimed at protecting the Great Lakes from oil pipeline exploitation. He has also worked with the group Nahko and Medicine for the People, which fuses cultural music.

Several others will be performing at the show, including Roy Bauer, who is an ambient/electronica/Ojibwe Native singer who creates a whirlwind of spiritual intensity with sound.

The show starts at 7 p.m. on Thursday at the Red Herring Lounge in Duluth. More about the Duluth event here.

Here’s some more on McDonald’s music: -Website -Songs - kbjr6

"Diversity at Amsterdam Bar & Hall with Opliam, Optimystic and Vlad"

Still full from last Thursday, we got right back into at the Amsterdam bar and hall. It was a collective of people from McNally Smith music college performing tonight. From the northern part of Chile, Vlad and his band started it off. His band consisted of Vlad as the lead singer playing acoustic guitar, singing, and playing just about every flute known to man. A bassist, someone playing the keyboard and another person playing the cajón drum. The cajón drum is pretty much a wooden box you sit down with it in between your legs and strike it from the side. When the band was done with there set Vlad brought his mother up on stage. She was a phenomenal singer and played the bombo drum while Vlad played an assortment of flutes and sang as well. The bombo drum is a bass drum you set down in from of you and hit with drumsticks. It consists of wood and cowhide, creating a note of low definite of indefinite pitch. They played songs in Chilean that originated in South America, very cool to see. I mean how often are your ears taken around South America while sitting in a bar in St. Paul.

Optimystic (Max Altmark of Lifted Mindz) was up next and of course he started off by taking his shoes off. Then stood on the table expressing peace love and happiness which grabbed the crowds attention. He let the beat rock for a minute and then got into doing a little a capella that was dense with quality rhymes that would make you think. It was cool, throughout his set he was talking about standing rock and an old man put a “stand in solidarity with standing rock” on the amp/speaker. Which led Vlad to get up there, take his shirt off and put it up on the amp as well (then Vlad walked around the bar without a shirt on for the next half hour). Optimystic kept reminding us about the importance of peace throughout his set and that Lifted Mindz “isn’t just a rap group it’s a family”. Angie Citlali was the second to last performance, she sang and played on her big Yamaha piano keyboard. Telling us how she went to Standing Rock about a month ago and came back totally inspired. People in North Dakota were chanting “water is life” and she was able to come home and incorporate that into her music, making it a chorus. Angie also sang a couple songs in Spanish while playing her acoustic guitar. It was a thrill to see these artists come out and express their culture through music.

The headliner for the evening was Opliam. An emcee that pushes the boundaries of rap, talking about things beyond a stereotypical rapper. Production that’ll you’ll get lost in and rhymes pertaining to physics, time, politics, things that’ll make you question our existence and enjoy the beauty of life. He played songs from his first EP in 2015 titled 4.4.4 and his latest project Mescalation vol. 1, whether you like it or not you can’t deny the truth in his rhymes. Songs like “Hallucinogenic Dreams” are you just reading this from a parallel universe? and “Feng Shui” talking about the interconnection of the humans in space and time . Opliam also talked about having been to Standing Rock within the past month as well, it was good to see that people in your local community have actually stopped what they were doing to go up there and have some sort of impact. - http://twincitiesmedia.net


4.4.4 (EP) - 2015
Mescalation Vol. 1 (EP)-2016



OPLIAM is Liam McDonald, a young up and coming American Indian activist who plays the guitar and makes radical Native hip hop music. He travels and plays acoustic folk sets at music festivals, in addition to working with non-profit organizations to fight for protection of the Great Lakes. The release of his new album, 4.4.4, chronicles his change in perception as well as ability to jump the boundaries of genres and create sounds for a hungry generation. His music has bits of sadness and struggle, mixed with inspirational uplifting songs of change. The story told is one of a young warrior growing up and learning the difference between things worth fighting for, while maintaining an innocent child like spirit.

Band Members