Red Slam
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Red Slam

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF

Toronto, Ontario, Canada | SELF
Band Hip Hop


This band has not uploaded any videos
This band has not uploaded any videos



"Red Slam Collective: Bring It Back"

IAM is an E Magazine please click on URL to view us on page 4 - I AM Vol 2 Magazine OCIC

"Red Slam Collective: Bring It Back"

IAM is an E Magazine please click on URL to view us on page 4 - I AM Vol 2 Magazine OCIC

"Red Slam arrives on Redwire’s Sentinel Shores"

Front lady for Tdot’s Red Slam Collective, Mahlikah Awe:ri, speaks on growth of the group and the ways that they give back. Red Slam will be headlining Redwire’s upcoming show Sentinel Shores: A Group Show and Event Exploring Land Defense February 2nd at Rhizome Cafe, Coast Salish Territories.

Marika Swan @ RPM: Wanna introduce yourself?

Mahlikah Awe:ri : My name is Mahlikah Awe:ri aka MC AngelHeart I am one of the four founding members of the Red Slam Collective. We also have other members that are a part of the collective now. We have four core members: we have a core drummer, a core bassist, we’ve added a saxophonist and then we mix it up with sometimes bringing in other emcees or a beatboxer or our B-boys.

MS: Who is making it out to Coast Salish Territories next week?

MA: So we’ll have MC 7th Son (Annishnaabe), Miles Turner (Six Nations, Mohawk), Isaac Llacuachaqui aka Riverwalker (Inca), myself (Mik’maw, Mohawk), Jav Bravo (Aztec), Will supporting us on bass and Paul our saxophonist cant make it but he’ll be there in spirit.

MS: How did the collective come together?

MA: In the fall of 2008 I was asked to do something at the Native Canadian Centre of Toronto, which is our Friendship Centre, around spoken word. At that time I was getting back into slam poetry competitions and I noticed there was no other natives in the circuit. So I thought maybe I should expose some other people to this art form. A set of people came to the workshops and they were into hip hop and into music. I had met Isaak a year before at an open mic so I asked him to join in. So it was 7th Son and Miles and our former member Lena who were always going. The youth coordinator encouraged us to apply for a grant to take things to the next level and take some of these lyrics and turn them into actual songs.

We applied and with that grant we got a mentorship with Digging Roots. Digging Roots took us on and got us to apply for another grant to record the single Bring It Back at their studios. They taught us how to make music and record in the studio and all the business side of music as well. We started with local booking at community centres and then we got a travel grant to go to different reserves and cities across Ontario. This was the spring to the fall of 2010. So we ended up doing a lot of little shows and it was really great exposure. We also got a chance to bond as a crew and figure out where we wanted to go. When we ended our tour at the ImageNATIVE opening for Martha Redbone, we thought ‘we need a band’. So we started working with other musicians and figured that synergy out and then we ended up with a new sound Isaak calls soul-rock hip-hop.

We have always been very forthright in our lyrical content in terms of issues that we know are relevant to our people. On a global scale because we are connected globally. Whether that’s about land, water or whether it’s dealing with residential school or whatever it is. When we were first trying to get bookings when we got our travel grant, there were some people that were hesitant to book us because of the lyrical content of our pieces. But now that we’ve had occupy all over Toronto and everywhere else we’ve had certain things come to light through the media in our different communities about the quality of our water and all this other stuff. Now we are inundated in our inbox. We cant even keep up with the amount of requests for us to come out and perform at various events dealing with the same stuff that people, even some of our own people, didn’t want us to be talking about. And I’m proud of us as a crew that regardless of what people had to say when we were coming up we steered that course and we kept on it. I mean, we talk about other stuff. We talk about love. We talk about the party. We’re people, we’re human. But at the same time we cant ignore the real issues that are affecting us.

MS: Tell me about the workshop side of the work you do.

MA: Yeah so aside from being a hip-hop fusion band we do Four Directions Community Arts Engagement workshops. We usually build collaborations with either a social group or a school or an arts organization and we deliver workshops based on what the kids want to do. My role is the artistic coordinator for the workshops, and based on what they want to do which members of the crew would be best to come in. So when we went on that tour in 2010, wherever we did a show we also had a workshop. It’s also a great way to embed our traditional teachings… so starting with orality. Rap is orality and our people are storytellers. Usually I’ll start by telling a traditional story and then I flip the same story but totally in rhyme. Then we’ll start getting them to write lyrics to visuals by various Indigenous artists that explore the same themes as the original story did. They come up with the hook and they decide what themes they want to discuss. Based on those themes we weave together a set of bars for each verse and then they d - RPM.FM Indigenous Music Culture

"Red Slam Collective/Red Soles @ Asian Art Festival, AGO"

When thinking about Hip-Hop, we go straight to the USA. Well, Toronto is also well known for its local Hip-Hop scene.

Drake, K-os, and K’naan are just a few of the Toronto scene artists that are sounding all over the world.

Now when we think about Native Canadian culture, we almost never link it with Hip-Hop. This is just one of the charms of this city. Native culture inspired Hip-Hop as well, and Red Slam Collective is just one example.

Red Slam Collective is a native-based spoken-word and Hip-Hop group who follow the idea and energy of native Canadian cultures.

Part of the stage performances by this collective are the Red Soles, who are another link to native culture. The Red Soles is a group of B-Boys and breakdancers from all around Canada.

mostly with native backgrounds from cities such as Vancouver, Montreal, and Saskatchewan.

RSC are known for their powerful presence on stage and it is because of the mix of live music and breakdancing during their shows, which create an atmosphere of music, energy and visual experience all at the same time.

The AGO building during the Asian Art Festival was part of the Ontario Tour that RSC did this summer. Gehry’s signature structure hosted the festival, where once again, cultures converged for art. Native culture plus Asian art styles, gave the festival and the public a different taste of the city.

Being at this great building, surrounded by some of the most important art creations of all time, with rhythms, beats and lyrics with native connotations, plus the Asian Art Festival happening all together made the Saturday afternoon an interesting time to spend in the multicultural city of Toronto.

- Javier Navarrete ILSC Blog

"The Graffiti Monkeys SLAM I AM Showcase: Red Slam Collective promote First Nations youth in priority neighbourhood"

Patrick Connors-Toronto: On Wednesday, January 26, I had the opportunity to witness something special at the Eastview Jr. Public School in Scarborough. Red Slam Collective, a collaboration of renowned indigenous urban artists, hosted The Graffiti Monkeys SLAM I AM Showcase, celebrating cultural identity and performance poetry.

“S.L.A.M. I AM is all about honoring and reclaiming our Warriorism through Spoken Lyricism Arranges Meaning,” said Mahlikah Awe:ri, Red Slam Collective Artistic Coordinator. “Integrating diverse principles of the medicine wheel teachings, participants develop original lyrical spoken word writings and musical compositions, inspired by their own anti-colonial journey.

“These are kids from the priority neighbourhood of Kingston Rd and Galloway in Scarborough of Native heritage. Many have never written poems, raps, or done any of the 4 elements of hip hop (Break dance, Rap, DJ, and Graffiti.). They range in age from 6 years to 15.”

The SLAM I AM Community Arts Access Project, funded by the Toronto Arts Council, wraps up 8 weeks of artistic exploration in partnership with the NCFS House of Ghesig After Four programs with this showcase. Ghesig is the Ojibway word for sun. Native Child and Family Services provide a life quality, well being, caring and healing for our children and families in the Toronto Native Community. They do this by creating a service model that’s culture based and respects values of Native people, extended family and right to self-determination, and providing social recreation for youth.

This community arts project has also contributed to the growth of each member of the Red Slam Collective in their arts as well as their activism.
“Through the community arts project at Eastview Jr. Public School, the youth proved themselves that if given the opportunity and space for positive energy, they are able to grasp artistic creation intuitively,” said Yusei Ota, Red Slam Facilitator and Drummer. “I learned that percussive instruments are oftentimes the first instruments youth participants like to jump to intuitively, and that free style and spoken word is still a cerebral medium for the youth to express themselves.”

“By combining my experience in writing, visual arts and performing arts, it furthers my experience as an arts facilitator,” Lena Recollect, Red Slam Facilitator and Vocalist, said. “I learned as a facilitator how improv, vocal, and story creation exercises contribute to poetry & how it would be possible to use it.”

“I am teaching as much as possible,” said Isaac Llacuachaqui, Red Slam Facilitator and Musical Composer. “I simplify everything I know, make it simple in a short time. There is so much talent here. With the right mentorship, we are developing careers in the long run in the arts and performance field.”

“I think it is important for this school because of the visible presence of students who self-identify as First Nations who attend it,” Awe:ri told me. “Eastview has a large Aboriginal community and has been in the forefront of developing Native education programs in an urban setting. The area of Kingston & Galloway in Scarborough is one of the 13 priority neighbourhoods in Toronto. Enriched community arts access has been minimal in the past, and Red Slam Collective wants to change that.”

It is very easy to see the enthusiasm amongst the youth, and their appreciation for Red Slam’s collective efforts.

“(This program) helps us to get a place to learn and have fun, hopefully without even knowing we are learning,” said Nikoiya, a very bright 10-year-old girl. “We’re all getting together to put this on and learning more about teamwork.”

“I like making the songs, the teaching about our grandfathers, learning where we came from,’ Shyheim, a 13-year-old boy told me. “Sometimes, there is trouble in the neighbourhood,” 13-year-old Drez admitted, “but this teaches us about something better, about our own people and music.”

The performance itself is not your garden variety after-school special. The youth were very excited to be there, all the parents were very involved in it; there was a sense of sharing, in everything from the Smudging Ceremony at the beginning to the food provided and distributed to a common spirit. There was a real sense of community, and I was honoured to participate in it. Red Slam Collective also performed several of their highly polished, high energy numbers.

“Community arts engagement projects will continue to be developed and delivered in other Toronto communities and schools,” Awe:ri said. “We would like to develop a mentorship program out of the SLAM I AM Project and create a cross SLAM I AM with Eastview in Scarborough and First Nations PS in downtown Toronto.

“Red Slam Collective, just off the DissemiNation Tour, with support from the OAC Word of Mouth Grant, is releasing singles, EP projects, and working on music videos. Our first appearances of 2011 will be a live interview on Indi -

"Red Slam in Kingston Ontario"

"Red Slam brought a brilliant and inspiring performance to Kingston. They are a collective unlike any we've seen before. The diverse music, lyrical and performance backgrounds of Red Slam members weave together to create a sound that is socially aware well crafted and deeply impacts their audience. Red Slam is a refreshing group with a lot of talent and potential, definitely a group to keep our eyes on. We look forward to having them back to Kingston in the future!" - Kavita Bee, CFRC RADIO, KINGSTON, ON

"Red Slam in Kingston Ontario"

"Red Slam brought a brilliant and inspiring performance to Kingston. They are a collective unlike any we've seen before. The diverse music, lyrical and performance backgrounds of Red Slam members weave together to create a sound that is socially aware well crafted and deeply impacts their audience. Red Slam is a refreshing group with a lot of talent and potential, definitely a group to keep our eyes on. We look forward to having them back to Kingston in the future!" - Kavita Bee, CFRC RADIO, KINGSTON, ON


Right Level Single Release Date October 14th 2013


Produced by Miles Turner & L. Moore
Lyrics by M. Turner, M. Awe:ri, J. Hupfield
Instrumentation M. Hupfield Guitar and A. Gunraj Bass

Kno Use Single Release Date Jan 30th 2013


Produced by Miles Turner
Lyrics by J. Hupfield, M. Awe:ri, M. Turner.

Bring It Back Single Release Date Jan 10th 2011
Produced at Cutting Edge Studios in Barrie, ON


Lyrics by J. Hupfield, M. Awe:ri, I. Llacuachaqui, L. Recollet, M. Turner.
Musical Composition: I. Llacuachaqui, R. Kanatakta
Produced by: R. Kanatakta and M.Turner



Red Slam is a hip hop fusion band formed in 2009 and based in Toronto; whose music uplifts, self-identifies and promotes unity through Spoken, Lyricism which Arranges Meaning (SLAM); and has performed on both coasts since 2010.
The collective is currently comprised of medicine wheel poets, songwriters, rappers, musicians, composers, vocalists, representing diverse indigenous nation affiliations across Turtle Island and Internationally (Mohawk, Mi'kmaq, Anishinaabe, Metis, Aztec, Cree, Dene). In 2010 with support from OAC Word of Mouth Travel Grant, Red Slam began the DissemiNation Tour performing live in cities like Toronto, Port Credit, Kingston, Montreal, Ottawa, Hamilton, Brantford, in venues like The Gladstone Hotel, Dundas Square and Victoria Island; and on live radio in Montreal and Ottawa; Headlining at Regent Park Film Festival, Mayworks Festival, Maanjidowin The Gathering, and the 11th Annual ImagineNative Film & Media Festival at Lees Palace where they opened for Native American Soul Singer Martha Red Bone. 2011 Red Slam featured at the NXNE Music Festival, the Home and Native Sound Music Series, and Manifesto Urban Arts Festival.
They started 2012 headlining in Vancouver, BC for Red Wire's Sentinel Shores Land Defense, represented Canada at the 28th Annual Gathering of Nations Pow Wow in New Mexico, featured at Toronto Pride and the New Traditions Festival. At NXNE 2012 they placed 15th out of the top 60 bands who played at the festival. As artists Red Slam are aboriginators of the messages of today, backed by the teachings of yesterday, transforming tomorrow.

They supported the IdleNoMore Ottawa on December 21st of 2012 and IdleNoMore Toronto On January 11th.

First Single off forthcoming debut LP drops October 14th 2013. Music Video November 2013.

Former Red Slam Collective Musical Contributors:
Lena Recollet (2009-2010)
Yusei Ota (2010-2011)
Isaac Llacuachaqui (2009-2012)

Recent Press:

89.9 KUNM in Santa Fe, NM, Live to air interview for Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, April 2012

89.1 KANW, in Albuquerque, NM, Live Interview with Shawna Sunrise for Gathering of Nations Pow Wow, April 2012

I AM Vol 3 Bring It Back: Red Slam Interview, p.4, by Jack Lister, March 2012

RPM.FM Indigenous Music Culture, Red Slam Arrives on Red Wire's Sentinel Shores, Mirka Swan, Jan 25, 2012 live interview and performance Red Slam with Paddy Jane, NXNE, Hyatt Hotel, June 16th 2011

Diaspora Dialogues Book 6, Patrick Connors, Toronto,, May 16th 2011

Big City Small World CBC Radio 1 performance and interview with Garvia Bailey featuring Mahlikah Awe:ri (Vocals), Isaac Riverwalker (Guitar), Yusei Ota (Djembe), February 12th, 2011 OBT BLACK HISTORY SERIES: MAHLIKAH AWE:RI, 2/11/11

Indigenous Waves CIUT 89.5 University of Toronto performance, interview and new single airplay featuring Mahlikah Awe:ri, Isaac Riverwalker and Yusei Ota, February 7th, 2011 The Graffiti Monkeys SLAM I AM Showcase: Red Slam Collective promote First Nations youth in priority neighbourhood written by Patrick Connors, January 27, 2011

CHRY York University Radio Live Stream of Red Slam at Sound Resistance, Monday September 27th, 2010

Post More Bills CFRC Radio Red Slam interview with Kavita Bissoondial from Queens University, Friday March 12th, 2010

Indielove Radio Web Cast Red Slam interview and live performance with Paddy Jane, Thursday, November 13th, 2009

Les Contes rendre - RED SLAM in da house! Web Radio Interview and live performance with Eliz Robert STUDIO CHOQ.FM, Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

Red Slam interview on CHUO 89.1 with Lisa Abel of The Circle in Ottawa Thursday, June 25th, 2009

RezTunes Red Slam interview in Hamilton with Dave Deleary May 31, 2009 will air on APTN March 6th 2010

Band Members