The Spiritual Warriors drop “Brothers and Sisters”, the second single from their upcoming album Indigenize – check it out on YouTube here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=05Y7YMJqUxQ
Fronted by father and daughter duo Leroy and Daisy Joe, The Spiritual Warriors weave together Indigenous chants with contemporary roots, rock and reggae to create a sound that reflects life in the coastal mountains of the Lil’wat Nation.
With lyrics that swing smoothly from English to U’cwalmicwts, the Lil’wat language, all set to a reggae beat, Spiritual Warriors create a unique and intriguing fusion of two culturally important musical styles. It’s uncanny how seamlessly well The Spiritual Warriors combine Indigenous drumming and chanting with the cadences familiar to fans of reggae. It’s a marriage that makes perfect sense.
On the brand new single “Brothers and Sisters”, the band takes on social issues endemic to Canada’s many Indigenous nations. Singers Leroy and Daisy lament the countless Indigenous brothers and sisters who end up homeless, addicted to drugs or alcohol, or working on the streets.
“This song is to let them know that they are still welcome home,” Leroy says, “that there is a fire waiting for them to keep them warm and that their grandmothers, grandfathers, and ancestors have not abandoned them.”
During live performances, the singer and guitarist says he often gets a lump in his throat while thinking of friends and family members who ended up on the streets, some never making it back home to Lil’wat Nation, near Pemberton, British Columbia.
“I pray and sing for those trying to make it back home,” he says. “The song was so hard to write. I kept weeping while writing it.”
Drummer Rich Doucet, bassist Mike Rowe, guitarist Cuyler Biller and keyboardist Quentin De Lorenzis set a perfect rock-steady reggae beat for Leroy and Daisy, who chant and deliver their pleas in both English and U’cwalmicwts. The second verse, sung in U’cwalmicwts, is especially poignant.
“Brothers and Sisters” follows the recent Spiritual Warriors single, “Oh Ama Sq’it”, written in Leroy’s St’at’imcets language, also native to the Lil’wat Nation. A joyful, upbeat track, almost calypso in feel, it encourages people to get up, have fun and dance. It’s a big hit during their live performances.
Both tracks appear on the full-length Indigenize, recorded at Abbotsford’s Studio Downe Under and produced and engineered by Leroy’s long-time collaborator, Andreas Schuld. Leroy says the record is Inspired by the Truth and Reconciliation initiative and the Murdered and Missing Ondigenous Women and Girls campaign.
Indigenize features eight tracks written by Leroy with the mission to give hope to his people and help non-Indigenous folks to better understand the issues that are still faced today by First Nations people. Composer Russell Wallace, longtime friend and original member of the band, co-wrote 2 tracks and arranged vocal harmonies on the album. Musicians on Indigenize include Norm Fisher, Rich Brown and Geeta Das as well as special guests rappers Geo the Voice (George Ignace, Secwepemculucw) and Ostweleve (Ronnie Dean Harris, Stō:lo/St’át’imc/Nlaka’pamux).
Listen to Spotify here: https://open.spotify.com/track/56OvLjXbi0dpDlMCQHRyjh?si=23e6eb1bb5c74913&nd=1
Internationally acclaimed, Spiritual Warriors’ 2019 album Ancestors received four Native American Music Awards (NAMA) nominations in 2019, winning for Best World Music Album. In the group’s previous incarnation as Kalan Wi, they won a 2013 NAMA for Best Historical/Linguistic Recording for their album Celebrate.
This truly unique band continues to produce important, meaningful, and culturally significant music, following Leroy Joe’s passion to preserve and promote his language and culture. Walk alongside The Spiritual Warriors as they take you on a cultural journey to the natural heartbeat of the Indigenous drum and the Lil’wat/St’at’imc people.