Sin­ging his Me­tis Culture, Loud­ly and Clear­ly

La Liberté - MMF-Une culture riche - - PUBLI-REPORTAGE | ADVERTORIAL -

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.”

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