Ed Peekeekoot, Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation
Singer-songwriter/ Instrumentalist / Artist
Music, art, and a supportive, loving family have helped me travel on a good path throughout my life. I give deep thanks for the creative and generous people in my life who have shared their gifts with me.
I am a Cree man who has always been sober. This is a matter of respecting my Elders and my body. I don’t judge the choices of others but honour my own ways.
My mother was my first guitar teacher when I was about four. She put the guitar in a tuning and a butter knife in my hand as a slide…and once I got going, I never stopped. Music is my first love.
Art is my other love. School was tough. Art was the one thing I excelled at and got positive recognition for. I continue to work as an artist and now love teaching others to carve and make art.
We moved to BC from Saskatchewan when I was 16. I worked in a mill, played in a weekend band, and kept busy painting.
For many years, I worked as a solo musician in the mainstream country music scene – mostly in BC but also across the Prairies. Even though my Cree heritage and growing up in a musical family shaped me, I avoided being labeled as a “Native musician”.
I wanted to be known as a great musician who just happened to be “Native” as I paid my mainstream dues. This all changed a few years ago after a visit to my home community, Ahtahkakoop, in Saskatchewan.
On this trip, I saw signs that the people in mycommunity were starting to practice their cultural ways once again. There were sweat lodges and the sun dance grounds had been reclaimed. This and other important experiences opened me to a deepening interest in exploring my First Nations heritage through music and, in 2006, I released “In the Key of Cree”, a CD of original pieces from my cultural perspective.
With guitar, Native flute, fiddle, drum and voice I create what I call “ear paintings”. These are the sounds and melodies heard in our dreams that take us on spirit journeys.
“Ed Peekeekoot’s quick wit and even faster fingers had the audience on their feet by the end of his concert.” Robin Poon, Reviewer (Nov. 2009)
In songs and instrumentals, I move from evoking nature, myth, and traditional ways of knowing to offering encouragement to First Nation people facing the sometimes stark realities of urban life. Raven and Coyote, tricksters and transformers, make their way into my music, stories, performances, and art.