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NunaKakKaasimajut (First Peoples First Occupants): A New Radio Show Hosted by Angus Andersen Dedicated to Canadian Indigenous Music

Angus Andersen loves listening to indigenous music. Quite often you’ll find him searching on YouTube for new songs and performers. But, in March 2016, something changed! As a member of the Inuit Drum group Kilautiup Songuninga (strength of the drums), Angus flew from St. John’s to Ottawa to take part in the Inuit community’s Spring Equinox celebration. Little did he know that sharing the stage, and meeting, so many Inuit artists from all regions of Canada would become the catalyst for him to host a radio show fully dedicated to Canadian indigenous music.

Solomon Semigak, Angus Andersen, Sophie Angnatok and Stan Nochasak performing at the Spring Equinox celebration in Ottawa. March 2016. (Photo: France Rivet)

“There’s a lot of aboriginal music out there. I wanted people in the St. John’s-Avalon area to hear Inuktitut voice on the radio and hear more aboriginal music because none of the big stations here have aboriginal content,” Angus explained to me when we chatted on the phone.

“Every now and then, on Fridays, I listen to CHMR-FM radio. They have a great two hours of country music. One day, I said to myself, ‘I should write them a letter and see if I can do a show.’” Well! Angus did write to the station. His idea received an immediate positive reply which led Angus to meet with two of the radio station’s program directors. A week later, on July 20, 2017, at 2 p.m., Angus was sitting in CHMR’s studio welcoming listeners to the very first hour of NunaKakKaasimajut (First Peoples First Occupants), a bilingual talk show (Inuktitut and English) featuring 100% Canadian indigenous music.

Angus Andersen hosting NunaKakKaasimajut. (Photo by Colleen Power)

“All radio station programs today have a 20% content of Canadian music. The difference with mine is that it is 100% Canadian aboriginal. I’m playing from unknown local artists to more popular groups. I have had three requests so far. Other than that, the choice of music played has all been based on my preferences.”

Things happened so fast that Angus still can’t believe that his radio show has become reality! What he likes most about hosting it is the ability to speak Inuktitut on the air, and to do so without restriction. He is most proud that CHMR has given him carte blanche.

Angus Andersen with CHMR News Director Colleen Power. (Photo courtesy of Angus Andersen)

Initially, Angus’ intent was to concentrate on playing Inuit artists and music. But a discussion with his aunt Rita Andersen made him realize that the title he had chosen, NunaKakKaasimajut, really encompassed more than Inuit. It meant First Peoples, so music from Metis and First Nations had to be part of it too! “That is why I brought in all aboriginal music,” explained Angus. In his very first opening, he dedicated his show to the Beothuks, the indigenous people of the island of Newfoundland whose last survivor, Shanawdithit, died in 1829.

People who know Angus know very well that he is not new to the world of communications nor to community involvement. He worked for eight years as a journalist for the OKâlaKatiget Society, in Nain, and has done freelance reporting for CBC Radio One. “In the 1980s, when the Inuit Broadcasting Corporation decided to come up with their own station, which later became APTN, I was on one of the selection committees in Labrador. I have been involved in communications maybe 30–35 years, but I have always been a community person. Even before I started with OK Society, I was helping with community events,” Angus explained to me.

Still today, he plays very active roles in a variety of initiatives, from St. John’s community freezer program and Urban Inuit Committee to organizing sessions for Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and raising awareness, through his water bottle campaign, on the methylmercury issues posed by the Muskrat Falls Hydroelectric project. Despite all these activities, Angus still finds time to give Inuktitut classes (one-on-one in person or online) and to do soapstone carvings.

Angus teaching Labrador Inuktitut at the Ottawa Inuit Children Center in Ottawa, March 2016. (Photo: France Rivet)

As I write this note, Angus is preparing the fourth instalment of NunaKakKaasimajut. So far, his playlists have included artists such as Beatrice Deer, Buffy Sainte-Marie, Charlie Adams, Charlie Panaguniak Kamatotc, David Hart, Eastern Owl, Eli Merkuratsuk, Inuvialuit Drum Dancers, Jaaji, Kashtin, Lisa Penashue, The Jerry Cans, Kathleen Ivaluarjuk Merritt, Kelly Fraser, Nain Drum Dancers, Saali and the Ravenhearts, Twin Flames, William Tagoona, to name just a few.

Angus’ hope is that eventually, as more people tune in, as more requests come in, and as more CDs are collected, the station will consider adding a second hour to his show. But, for now, the priority is to spread the word about NunaKakKaasimajut, an initiative which can definitely be seen as contributing to building bridges between indigenous and non-indigenous peoples.

The show airs at 2 p.m. Newfoundland Time, and even though you may not reside in the Avalon Peninsula where CHMR’s antennas can reach you, you definitely can listen to the show live or as podcasts. So far, people have been tuning in from as far as Anchorage, Alaska.

HOW TO LISTEN TO NunaKakKaasimajut

If you live in the St. John’s—Avalon peninsula area, simply tune in CHMR FM 93.5 on Thursdays @ 2 p.m.

If you live outside the broadcasting area, access CHMR’s home page. In the top left corner, you’ll see a “Listen Now” button which allows you to tune in.

Here are the podcasts of the latest three instalments:

To listen to any of the shows that aired in the last four months, you can also go to this address http://mp3srv.munsu.mun.ca/. Here’s what you will see:

 

Specify the date of the show you’re looking for (remember that NunaKakKaasimajut started on July 20, 2017). Enter 14:00 as the start time and 15:00 as the stop time. Press the Stream m3u button. You’ll get a pop-up to either open the link or save it to your computer. If you choose to open it, within seconds you’ll be listening to the live broadcast.

HOW TO SEND YOUR MUSIC TO ANGUS
Currently, YouTube is Angus’ main media for making his selection. That said, artists are just starting to send him copies of their CDs. So, if you are a Canadian indigenous artist, or know one who could be featured on NunaKakKaasimajut, Angus will be thrilled to get a copy of your CD. Here’s the address where it can be sent to:

Attn: Angus Andersen
CHMR-FM
Box A-119
Memorial University of Newfoundland
St. John’s  NL  A1C 5S7

Music can also be submitted as MP3. But, before you send anything in that format, please read CHMR’s policy on submitting material.

HOW TO REQUEST A SONG OR SEND YOUR FEEDBACK TO ANGUS
Whether you’d like to send a special request, ask a question, or tell Angus where you’re tuning in from, you can reach him via:
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/angus.andersen
Twitter: @AndersenAngus
Email: angusandersen900@hotmail.com

From now on, every week, you can share an hour with Angus who does his best to create his own version of the Spring Equinox event where the seed for this big adventure was planted a year ago. Hope you tune in, enjoy and share the news with friends and family.

Thank you! Merci! Nakummek!
France Rivet

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