Library and Archives Canada
Symbol of the Government of Canada

Institutional links

ARCHIVED - Aboriginal Sound Recordings: Music and Song

Archived Content

This archived Web page remains online for reference, research or recordkeeping purposes. This page will not be altered or updated. Web pages that are archived on the Internet are not subject to the Government of Canada Web Standards. As per the Communications Policy of the Government of Canada, you can request alternate formats of this page on the Contact Us page.


The Aboriginal Sound Recordings: Music and Song exhibition features music and song recordings from First Nations, Inuit and Métis artists, and from the recording labels that produced their work. The recordings are in the Music Collection of Library and Archives Canada (LAC), and represent a wide range of sounds and styles from the 1970s to the present.

Visitors to this site can listen to a selection of clips and tracks of traditional and contemporary music and song. Essays are also available about the origins, changes and adaptations of the Aboriginal music scene in Canada.

What is Aboriginal Music?

What is Aboriginal music? It is the music of people who have known this land since time immemorial. The songs and melodies are inspired by dreams or spirits, animals and birds, and come from the land itself.

Aboriginal music has changed over time as singers and song-makers have adapted their instruments from natural sources or through trade with other Aboriginal nations. With the coming of the Europeans, that change took some dramatic turns.

More recently, globalization, the Internet and growing cultural awareness have led to far-reaching changes in mainstream music. Aboriginal music contributes to this lively new scene. It offers a contemporary sound with a unique flavour of its own.

About Aboriginal Sound Recordings

The digitized clips and tracks in Aboriginal Sound Recordings were selected from Library and Archives Canada's Music Collection from the 1970s to roughly the present. These selections are part of the organization's collection of approximately 200,000 recordings on disks, and records of all formats and genres, piano rolls, reels and spools, eight-track tapes and CDs.


Our thanks go to Brian Wright-McLeod, author of the Encyclopedia of Native Music, [] (accessed April 2, 2007), for researching, selecting and writing for this site, and to Molly Wolf for the editing.

We gratefully acknowledge the Department of Canadian Heritage, whose financial assistance through Canadian Culture Online made this work possible.