Singing his Metis Culture, Loudly and Clearly
He no longer needs introduction. The one they call the “Elvis of Winnipeg” conquered the stages, screens and radio waves of Manitoba very early on. Today, Ray St. Germain is a legendary figure on the Metis music scene.
In 1985, the singer released an album called Thank God, I’m Metis. A strong title for an equally profound message. Moreover it was the song The Metis that earned him the Aboriginal Order of Canada honour. “All my shows include songs about the Metis. And, for each one, I make sure right off to let people know, if they don’t already, that I am Metis.”
Ray St. Germain began very early on to play music and sing, in the St. Vital neighbourhood where he grew up. However, it was not until he was in his early twenties that he found out, by chance, about his Metis origins. “After that, as I travelled across Canada, I
began looking into the history of Louis Riel. I found it fascinating. It was his history that inspired me for the song The Metis.”
Coupled with his love of stage, is his love of radio. In fact, one of his greatest sources of pride is the broadcast he hosts for the MMF every Saturday morning on NCI-FM: The Metis Hour X2. “It’s a huge honour to have been able to create my own radio broadcast for the Metis. It’s been going on for almost 20 years and we’ve done 1,000 broadcasts! We play Metis music, made by Metis artists, amidst discussions on current Metis issues.
“These days, people are really aware of who the Metis are. That’s thanks to all those who committed themselves to achieving this, and who taught us that when you really believe in something, anything is possible.”