To the delight of Indian Country, a Northern Cree GRAMMY performance was part of this year’s celebrations. The seven-time Grammy-nominated Native drum group Northern Cree and Carla Morrison performed “Cree Cuttin'” and “Un Beso” at the 59th GRAMMY Awards Premiere Ceremony on Feb. 12, 2017, in Los Angeles.
In an interview with the Wetaskiwin Times, Steve Wood, the leader of the Alberta-based drum group stated why he was proud to be invited to the Grammys.
“This isn’t just about us. It’s about every Cree person, every First Nations person in North America. I want our young people to know that they can aspire to great things. We have a chance to do something good and help our people make that connection with other people and music is the best way to do that.”
This year marks the seventh time Northern Cree has been nominated, though the GRAMMYS discontinued the Native American category in 2011.
The group’s last bid in that category was 2006. In 2017, they were nominated in the Best Regional Roots Music Album category with their newest album, It’s a Cree Thing.
Their latest album was released in 2016 through Canyon Records.
The 2017 Grammy in that category was awarded to E Walea for Kalani Pe’a.
“To be honest, I didn’t think we’d be nominated again in this lifetime,” said Wood in Alberta Native News.
The Northern Cree Singers have been performing since 1980 and have released 37 albums over the past 35 years.
In an interview with CBC’s Travis McEwan in December 2016, Wood discussed the importance of sharing traditional Native drum music with the young people of this world.
“We need positive stories for our young people so that they know that they can aspire to great things and they don’t have to be anybody else. They can be themselves,” he said.
Canyon Records owner and President offered his appreciative comments regarding Northern Cree and to the GRAMMYS to ICMN in an email:
“It was satisfying to hear and see one of the most exciting forms of dance music – round dance – performed by the best of North America – Northern Cree (congratulations to Canada!). I hope new listeners appreciated the energy, drive, and beauty of Native American music. We thank the Grammys for presenting our artists in the pre-telecast.”
It was also posted on social media.