Bandcamp Friday is Back -- The Future of Trad!
By Devon Léger
August 6, 2021
Hello and welcome back to our monthly roundup of great Bandcamp releases for Bandcamp Friday! Every first Friday of the month from now until the end of the year, Bandcamp is waiving all fees on music purchased on their site. It’s been a wonderful way to support struggling artists during COVID and much love to Bandcamp for keeping it going. I just interviewed Andrew Jervis of Bandcamp about Bandcamp Fridays so read that here if you’d like to find out more.
For August, I wanted to look at The Future of Trad, meaning music based on traditions but that travels far far afield to new climates. And, I wanted to cover some of the more intriguing experiments I’ve heard in the past year and also artists who are fearlessly breaking down barriers and developing new ideas in old music. Some of this gets pretty “out there,” so buckle up!
Ya Tseen is perhaps best known as a visual artist, going by his name Nicholas Galanin. He’s Alaskan Tlingit in origin, and is one of the most brilliant visual artists I’ve ever seen, using traditional art as a platform to explore the brutality of modern America. One of his works, “My Ears Are Numb,” is a Native American frame drum decorated as the American flag with a beater made of a carved wooden police baton. A strikingly compelling recent art piece involved him creating an archaeological dig of the shadow of Captain Cook’s statue in Sydney’s Hyde Park. His modern art is catalogued on his Flickr account and is well worth a look, but on his Instagram you can also see Galanin hard at work on a traditional Tlingit dugout canoe in his Sitka, Alaska home, documenting the many ingenious construction methods of the Tlingit canoe builders of history. As a musician, Ya Tseen is more based in indie pop songwriting, awash with synths and futurist beats. He signed to prestigious SubPop Records for his new album, a label that’s long been at the center of Galanin’s community. Fellow SubPop artists Shabazz Palaces and THEESatisfaction part of the Black Constellation of BIPOC futurist visual artists, fashion designers, and musicians along with Galanin. Indian Yard is the product of one of the most forward thinking Indigenous artists, an artist who lives in tradition, but experiments far beyond it.