“You should listen to Buffy Ste. Marie’s 2009 album Running for the Drum.
It’s not her most recent, or her most acclaimed (though it won a coveted Juno award). It’s not her most innovative (in my completely uneducated opinion, that accolade belongs to 2016’s Power in the Blood, which had me looking for Bjork in the liner notes. She wasn’t there. Neither were liner notes, actually, because it’s not 1988 anymore, but you know what I’m saying). But I think it’s the best album this prolific artist has given us to date.
Running for the Drum comes out of the gate hard and righteous. “No No Keshagesh” was on constant repeat in my house for a while (“keshagesh” is a Cree word meaning “greedy guts”, and the song lives up to every expectation you just had). The second half softens up with “America the Beautiful” (not exactly the version you’re expecting, but perhaps the version you need). As always, Buffy delivers truth to power and a celebration of indigeneity layered with love, anger, sorrow, pride, and longing. Granted, I’ve got Rick Springfield’s “Jessie’s Girl” on my playlist (and I am not ashamed), so I may not be the sharpest music critic on campus. But you really should give Running for the Drum a listen.”
Associate Professor in Residence,
Women’s, Gender and Sexuality Studies Program,
University of Connecticut