Friday, June 2, 2023

Saltwater Hank - "Nii Wila Waalt"

Saltwater Hank is a First Nations Ts'msyen artist that combines his love of country and roots music with his own heritage. His upcoming album is written entirely in the Ts'msyen language Sm'algyax, and the first single is "Nii Wila Waalt." The song defies anything that you're expecting to hear. It's driven by a heavy, electric blues guitar along with some country style fiddle. "Nii Wila Waalt" is surprisingly heavy, and the combination of blues guitar with country fiddle would be enough to sell us on the song. But then you add in Saltwater Hank's traditional singing, and it just adds in an entirely new element. Sure, you're heard blues songs, country songs, and traditional First Nations music before, but never put together quite like this.

Saltwater Hank says of his new song:

"This is a series of natural events that indicate when we are supposed to harvest things. These protocols have been passed down since time immemorial, and are really indicative of how the gregorian calendar just does not make sense to us. We go after salmonberries when the ripening bird sings, and that’s that. We only harvest in good weather, because the weather is a very powerful thing that is meant to be respected. We always harvest our seaweed first because we have to dry it right away. If we strip cedar bark, the old people say it will rain, and we can’t dry our seaweed outside if it’s raining. If we strip the cedar bark too early it will also hurt the tree."

You can listen to "Nii Wila Waalt" below. G̱al’üünx wil lu Holtga Liimi is due out July 1, and is available for pre-order through Bandcamp. For more on Saltwater Hank, check out the artist's website.

1 comment:


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