BEST OF OTTAWA 2019: Bands & Musicians
After over 20-years writing about life in Ottawa, we think we have
a pretty good idea of the best of what this city has to offer.
In this weekly summer series, we’ll share our picks with you –
our top hotels, live music venues, local brews,
bands and more. Check, share and discuss
#OLMBest every week!
Silla and Rise
With frontwomen Cynthia Pitsiulak and Charlotte Qamaniq originally from Nunavut, but coming together as a band here in Ottawa, Silla and Rise are one of the most unique groups in the Canadian music scene right now. They merge Inuit throat singing with modern electronic beats to from a sound that is mesmerizing and uniquely their own. Silla and Rise’s latest album Galactic Gala recently dropped and we are hooked.
Photo Credit: Silla and Rise Facebook
The Tackies may be young, but they pack a punch. These four guys bring a unique quirk and style that is so refreshing to the Ottawa music scene. Their sound is very fresh, but also has a familiar feel to it, reminiscent of bands from the 90s and early 2000s. This merge of new and throwback sounds, their great personalities, and their loud and exciting live shows make them stand out from the crowd. Check out their song “Beach Party,” which we just cannot get out of our heads!
Photo Credit: Sean Sisk
Ottawa songstress Renée Landry knows how to bring the soul! Highly active in the local music scene, you’re likely to find her performing at many of the city’s popular festivals, bars and cafes and the prestigious NAC. Her latest EP “Like a Boss” has us bopping non-stop! Alongside her original compositions, Landry performs an annual tribute show to the late Amy Winehouse called “Back to Black” that’s always a fun time.
Photo Credit: Kamara Morozuk
Cody Coyote has been making big waves in the Ottawa music scene over the past couple years and it’s for good reason. The Ottawa-raised rapper is known for his powerful lyrics that spotlight issues such as racism, violence and reconciliation which all hit close to home for him as a member of the Matachewan First Nations. Cody’s latest album Ma'iinganag is a beautiful tribute to his Indigenus roots fused with modern electronic and hip hop vibes.
A Tribe Called Red
This duo, made up of DJs 2oolman and Bear Witness, fuses Indigenous music with electronica, reggae and dubstep beats to create what has become a critically-acclaimed, Juno Award-winning sound. They are not only renowned locally, but have also made waves internationally, performing at notable music fests and clubs all over the world. Along with their groundbreaking contributions in music, the duo is also very socially active – advocating for First Nations causes and protest movements like Idle No More.
This accomplished Juno Award-winning jazz vocalist is also one hell of a fighter. After being struck by lightning in 2013–yes, you read that right–Kellylee Evans returned to the music scene in 2015 with her album Come On and has been on the road since. The JUNO winner’s soulful vocals hit you to the core and are nothing but pure genius. If you want to see her live, which we HIGHLY recommend, don’t miss her concert “Winter Song” at the NAC this December!
Since he hit the scene in 2005, Ottawa’s Ahmad Balshe, better known by his stage name Belly, has been making waves in Canada and around the world. The JUNO-winning rapper, songwriter and producer has put Ottawa on the map in the hip-hop world through his many mixtapes and albums and his high-profile collaborations. Belly co-wrote fellow Canadian superstar The Weeknd’s 2016 smash hit “Earned It” which earned him two GRAMMY nominations and an Academy Award nomination.
Photo: Belly Facebook
Consisting of married couple Jaaji and Chelsea June, Twin Flames is a band who’s synergy and heart is as real as it gets. The pair draw from the traditional music of their respective First Nations and Inuit backgrounds and blend it with folk-rock to create a sound that is experimental and inspiring. The duo’s 2019 song “Human” is a stunning tribute to humankind and how we are all connected.
Photo: Sean Sisk
The Peptides have made quite a name for themselves in Ottawa over the past few years! With their brightly-coloured style and performances, they are like a Warhol painting come-to-life! They won OLM’s CoverME! Contest in 2017, and continue to light up the capital with performances at tons of local festivals and venues like Bluesfest, the NAC and much more. Don’t miss their concert at the NAC’s Fourth Stage later this month!
Photo Credit: Sean Sisk
Métis musician Amanda Rheaume blends folk, country and pop to create a sound that is distinctively hers. The JUNO-nominated songstress writes from the heart and is known for her powerful and emotional storytelling. Rheaume is also an activist. She spearheaded the breast cancer program Babes4Breasts and is involved in local charities like the Boys and Girls Clubs of Ottawa. Rheaume’s latest album The Skin I’m In is a powerful homage to self-love and her most inspiring release yet.