SOCAN is grieving the passing of Winnipeg-based Indigenous singer-songwriter and SOCAN member Vince Fontaine, co-founder of the JUNO Award-winning duo Eagle & Hawk, who died suddenly on Jan. 11, 2022 of a reported heart attack at age 60.

A member of the Sagkeeng First Nation, Fontaine founded Eagle & Hawk with Troy Westwood in 1994. They released 10 albums, four of which earned JUNO Award nominations, and one of which – On and On – earned the Indigenous Album of the Year honour in 2002. Eagle & Hawk  also won two Western Canadian Music Awards, nine Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, three Native American Music Awards, seven Indian Summer Music Awards, and 10 Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Music Awards.

On the Rising Sun Productions website, Fontaine said, “My purpose is to lift up Indigenous people of North America and show the beauty, existence, splendour, and mystique of our culture. I want to be a musical beacon and cultural ambassador.”

Fontaine was a hard-working singer-songwriter, performer, and recording artist who did all he could to live up to those words by bringing Indigenous-created music into the mainstream, and by serving as a mentor for young Indigenous musicians everywhere. In addition to his work with Eagle & Hawk, he released the acclaimed 2011 solo album, Songs for Turtle Island, and founded the band Indian City, which included William Prince as a member.

“We lost a dear friend and pillar of the First Nations music community,” said Prince (in part) on his Facebook page. “A world-class musician and a true trailblazer. Vince Fontaine was a mentor and friend to me unlike any other. An award-winning musician with his bands Eagle & Hawk and Indian City, a guitar player that embodied the charisma of Zeppelin, U2, and The Eagles. He carved a path for so many of us with his seemingly endless musical ventures and vigour for following through. His determination led him to perform at the Olympics, open for The Eagles at the Winnipeg Stadium, and tour the world with friends he loved… He always made you feel like someone of importance. Perhaps a lifetime of people telling him what he couldn’t be because he was First Nations led to this belief that we could all be something more. Vince believed it every day and he was right. ”

“Could never express how much you meant to me brother,” said his Eagle & Hawk bandmate Troy Westwood on his Twitter feed. “So many precious memories. You taught me a great deal brother. Thank you. Much sympathy to his beautiful family.” Fontaine’s niece, NDP Member of the Legislative Assembly of Manitoba Nahanni Fontaine, posted that “Vince’s love of music was only outshone by his measureless devotion to his family, friends and community.” Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs Grand Chief Arlen Dumas said in a news release, “Fontaine never said no when it came to helping Indigenous people. This is such a tragic loss, as he was a musical beacon and a cultural ambassador for First Nations throughout North America and throughout the world.”

SOCAN extends its deepest condolences to Vince Fontaine’s family, bandmates, friends, community, and fans in Winnipeg, in Manitoba, throughout Canada, and around the world.



As we look forward to 2022, Words & Music and Paroles & Musique also remember and celebrate 2021, with Top 10 Lists of SOCAN members’ songs from some of our regular contributors, and favourite moments or highlights from some of the members themselves. Happy Holidays!

 

MEMBERS’ FAVOURITE MOMENTS OF 2021

 

Haviah MightyHaviah Mighty, hip-hop/R&B singer, songwriter, performer, entrepreneur, philanthropist
“The release of Stock Exchange was a big highlight for me this year! With restrictions in place for half of it, this was a project I went within to find; navigating my internal emotions about self-love, self-validation, and self-identity. What I found most challenging about this project was conceptualizing ideas with very little ‘new’ experience and lack of studio access for collaboration – an interesting time to take on the role of executive producer. The most exciting part of the process was working with so many incredible artists, and tapping into different sounds and genres. This project really allowed me to explore after 13th Floor, as I continue to develop my sounds and visions.”

 

Roxane BruneauRoxane Bruneau, singer-songwriter
“There’s no doubt that winning four Félix awards was a highlight, so I’ll go with that. But I’m also incredibly proud of all the web content I created for people during the pandemic. I do feel like it was a job well done. I couldn’t save lives during the pandemic, I’m not a doctor, I was ‘useless,’ so I figured my job was to help people forget about what was going on. Some people lived through hell, they lost their jobs, or even loved ones. So when people connected to my free content, my album was free because I wanted people who didn’t have the money anymore to still be able to listen to it. If those people could spend just 10 minutes with me and forget about their troubles, my job was done.”

 

Amin BhatiaAmin Bhatia, screen composer
“This is such a strange and wonderful dilemma, because I have to choose from so many highlights this year. I suppose the double win Canadian Screen Awards with Ari Posner would be the biggest contender, but there have been many notable anniversaries, too: 40 years since I won the Roland Synthesizer Competition, 50 years since immigrating to Canada, and 60 years since I was born. I have so many people to thank for all of this. But if I had to narrow it down to the one most important highlight for 2021, it would be that I got vaccinated! Thank you to all the front-line workers, and to everyone who made the vaccines possible, otherwise none of us would be here to talk about highlights!”

 

CRiCRi, electronic music artist
“Simply put, 2021 was the greatest year of my life. Obviously, because of the release of my album Juvenile, which is an amazing feat. And although it came out at the end of 2020, the whole promotional campaign happened in 2021. 2021 truly was full of opportunities. The second reason was because I bought a house in the Laurentians. I love this new life, living in the forest is amazing; a bit reclusive, but I love it!”

 

Snotty Nose Rez KidsSnotty Nose Rez Kids, Haisla Nation rappers
Quinton “Yung Trybz” Nyce: “Outside of dropping our album, because that was huge for us, just going on our first American tour, finally, after two years. This has been three years, four years in the works, almost, and we finally got to do it. It made us feel accomplished; we felt good about ourselves.”
Darren “Young D” Metz: “The night of the album [release], I’m not gonna lie, I cried a little bit. It was like winning a championship. When you work so hard toward something for so long, and then it finally gets there, it’s, like,  all the emotions that you endured throughout that journey come out.”

 

Damien RobitailleDamien Robitaille, singer-songwriter
“My professional highlight of 2021 would be all the success I’ve had with my song covers, from “Pump Up The Jam” to “We Are The World”,,, and all the other tunes I’ve done. A personal highlight was being able to visit my daughters in Spain, I spent the entire summer there – two full months – and it had been eight months since I’d seen them.”

 

Kim TempleKim Temple, Publisher, High Priestess Publishing
“The High Priestess highlight of 2021 was hosting our first song camp ever in Toronto IRL! Artists, producers, and songwriters gathered at Taurus Studios over three days, and tripped out on each other’s presence: Lockdown lifted, molecules bumping up, faces beaming. “Veni, vidi, vici,” which in song camp speak means “We laughed, we cried, we devoured oxtail.” (We failed Latin, but we heart you, @kateringco.inc.). Producer gender parity (a rarity) set the stage, and we were enchanted with our special guests. Standout collab combos: James Baley x Tynomi Banks, Witch Prophet x Junia-T, Jesse Northey x Nyssa, Zaki Ibrahim x SATE, Lana Winterhalt x Thomas D’Arcy, SUN SUN x Cadence Weapon, Melody McKiver x T Thomason. Like boxing match-ups, but instead of exchanging blows, songwriters exchanged pure love and creativity – resulting in killer cuts for 2022.”

 

Alex BurgerAlex Burger, singer-songwriter, member of Bon Enfant (among other bands)
“The fact that it was Patrick Norman who gave me my Félix for Country Album of the Year was like a dream come true. It was truly a great moment. It’s just a shame we didn’t get to hug; that’s probably the worst moment of my year, not getting to hug him, because he doesn’t really want to do live shows anymore.”

 

TOBiTOBi, R&B/hip-hop/pop singer-songwriter
“As I sit back and reflect on what was deemed Part Two of the pandemic, there were many bright spots this time around. Going on tour this fall would have to be the highlight of my year. Driving across the United States with my crew; being in and out of hotel rooms and restaurants was the right amount of chaos I needed after being inside for a whole year. Seeing different cities and sharing the gift of music with new faces. Stepping back onstage after two years felt like a return to home, and we were welcomed with open arms. I felt alive again. Thankful to my management team, to Brasstracks for being the best family on tour, to the crews in different cities that made this experience so worthwhile. The tour went off without any hiccups and for that I’m grateful. Ready to do it all again. Oh, and always get auto insurance!”

 

AnachnidAnachnid, Oji-Cree singer-songwriter
“One of the greatest moments of my year of 2021 was going on tour in Québec. One of the most magical moments was really connecting during the day with many families on the tip of the mountain looking out over the ocean of the Gaspésie. Seeing people dance and just be happy was simply magical. I felt like I was in an eagle’s nest because that’s the bird that can fly the highest. I felt really connected to my grandfather, whose spirit animal is the eagle. Sharing that experience with families and kids and a great team over there was really great.”

 

CONTRIBUTORS’ TOP 10 SOCAN MEMBER SONG LISTS FOR 2021

 

Chaka V GrierChaka V. Grier
Words & Music regular contributor Chaka V. Grier is an interviewer and writer for NOW Toronto and Bandcamp Daily. Bylines include National Public Radio (NPR) in the U.S., O Magazine, Flare, and Elle Canada.

 

  1. Mustafa – “Separate”
  2. Allison Russel – “Montreal”
  3. Charlotte Day Wilson – “I Can Only Whisper”
  4. Cadence Weapon – “Skyline”
  5. DijahSB – “Way Too Many Ways”
  6. TOBi – “Off The Drugs”
  7. Silla + Rise – “Ijiraq (Hide and Seek)”
  8. Charlotte Day Wilson – “Changes”
  9. Naya Ali – “Air Ali”
  10. Dominique Fils-Aimé – “The Healing Song”

 

Élise JettéÉlise Jetté
Paroles & Musique contributor Élise Jetté has been a host and interviewer at CISM for over ten years, editor-in-chief of the digital music magazine Feu à volonté, and writes about music for other publications, including Clin d’œil magazine.

 

  1. Ada Lea – “partner”
  2. Les Louanges – “Pigeons”
  3. Safia Nolin – “PLS (Sunset Version)”
  4. Salomé Leclerc – “Chaque printemps”
  5. Robert Robert featuring Hubert Lenoir – “La nuit se plaindre”
  6. Laurence-Anne – “Indigo”
  7. Vanille – “Si je pleure”
  8. Émilie Proulx – “La nuit les échos”
  9. zouz – “Auréole”
  10. Nicolet – “Le retour des animaux”

 

Errol NazarethErrol Nazareth
Words & Music contributor Errol Nazareth is the host of Frequencies, a global music show that airs every Tuesday at 6:00 p.m. ET on CBC Music.
(In no particular order)

 

  • Mustafa – “Ali”
  • Haviah Mighty – “Avocado”
  • John Orpheus – “IG”
  • Dominique Fils-Aimé – “Grow Mama Grow”
  • Donné Roberts – “Aleo Miarka Sy Mifanaraka”
  • Marito Marques – “Manjerico”
  • Cartel Madras – “Drift”
  • TEKE::TEKE – “Kala Kala”
  • Amaka Queenette – “Want You More”
  • Mas Aya with Lido Pimienta – “Tiempo Ahora”

 

Eric ParazelliEric Parazelli
Eric Parazelli is the Editor of SOCAN’s online magazine Paroles & Musique and Manager of Francophone Communications for SOCAN.

 

  1. Hubert Lenoir – “Dimanche soir
  2. Charlotte Cardin – “Meaningless”
  3. Lou-Adriane Cassidy – J’espère encore que quelque part l’attente s’arrête”
  4. Robert Robert – “L’été je m’ennuie”
  5. Bon Enfant – “Ciel bleu”
  6. Chiiild – “Sleepwalking”
  7. Lydia Képinski – “Arbol”
  8. Emma Beko – “MHS”
  9. Hippie Hourrah – “Fantôme”
  10. MIELS – “Pour l’amour du ciel”

 

 Beatriz BaleeiroBeatriz Baleeiro
Words & Music contributor Beatriz Baleeiro is a young music journalist who recently completed an internship at Complex magazine.

 

  1. Charlotte Cardin – “Passive Aggressive”
  2. Chiiild – “Sleepwalking”
  3. Drake featuring Lil Baby – “Girls Want Girls”
  4. Belly, The Weeknd featuring Nas – “Die For It”
  5. Selah Sue featuring TOBi – “Hurray”
  6. Allan Rayman – “Books”
  7. LOONY – “Raw”
  8. Lennon Stella – “Bubble”
  9. Olivia Lunny – “Sad To See You Happy”
  10. Jade LeMac – “Constellations”

 

Catherine GenestCatherine Genest
Paroles & Musique contributor Catherine Genest is a freelance journalist for both print and radio. Her first book, a biographical novel telling the story of the singer Guylaine Guy, will be published by éditions du Boréal in the Spring of 2022.

 

  1. Robert Robert – “Les gens ”
  2. Valence – “Rosier”
  3. Hubert Lenoir with Bonnie Banane – “Octembre”
  4. Louis-Jean Cormier – L’ironie du sort”
  5. Sarahmée with Nissa Seychs – “Elle est partie”
  6. Julyan – “Run Around”
  7. De Flore – “L’été ne reste pas”
  8. Bon Enfant – “Porcelaine”
  9. Salomé Leclerc – “Où on s’est trouvé”
  10. Ponteix – “Les années”

 

Howard DruckmanHoward Druckman
Howard Druckman is the Editor of SOCAN’s Words &  Music online magazine.

 

  1. Snotty Nose Rez Kids – “Grave Digger”
  2. Haviah Mighty featuring Yizzy – “Protest”
  3. Donovan Woods – “She Waits for Me to Come Back Down” / “Whatever Keeps You Going”
  4. Mustafa – “Stay Alive” / “Ali”
  5. TOBi – “Made Me Everything”
  6. Leonard Sumner – “Mourningstar”
  7. LU KALA – “No Smoke”
  8. DijahSB with RAY HMND – “Moving With the Tides”
  9. grandson – “In Over My Head”
  10. Charlotte Cardin – “Passive Aggressive”

 

Olivier Boisvert MagnenOlivier Boisvert-Magnen
Paroles & Musique contributor Olivier Boisvert-Magnen is a journalist, researcher, columnist, host, curator of music lists, and on-air director for ICI Musique/Première, QUB Musique, Stingray and CISM.

 

  1. Thierry Larose – “Cantalou”
  2. P’tit Belliveau – “J’aimerais d’avoir un John Deere”
  3. Lary Kidd with Loud et 20some – “3 saisons”
  4. Connaisseur Ticaso – “STL Vice”
  5. Bon Enfant – “Ciel bleu”
  6. Les Fourmis – “Intuition”
  7. Alex Burger – “Sweet Montérégie”
  8. gabWan – “On s’en calisse-tu pas”
  9. Lou-Adriane Cassidy – “Oui le serpent nous guette”
  10. Vincent Vallières – “Homme de rien”

 

Del CowieDel Cowie
Words & Music contributor Del Cowie has worked as a writer, producer and researcher for the Peabody and International Emmy Award-winning Netflix documentary series Hip Hop Evolution. He’s also worked as a producer for CBC Music and was hip-hop editor at Exclaim! magazine for more than a decade.

  1. Planet Giza – “When The Moving Stops”
  2. Rochelle Jordan – “All Along”
  3. Mustafa – “The Hearse”
  4. allie – “Violet Nights”
  5. Chiild – “Awake”
  6. Liza – “Rolla “
  7. TOBi – “Don’t Touch”
  8. Shantel May featuring Westside Gunn – “Until I Say So”
  9. Drake – “Lemon Pepper Freestyle”
  10. Haviah Mighty – “Obeah”

 

Dominic TardifDominic Tardif
Paroles & Musique contributor Dominic Tardif is now a journalist at La Presse. He’s also a columnist for On dira ce qu’on voudra and host of the podcast Deviens-tu c’que t’as voulu?

 

  1. Lou-Adriane Cassidy – “J’espère encore que quelque part l’attente s’arrête”
  2. Thierry Larose – “Cantalou”
  3. Jesuslesfilles – “Troisième semaine”
  4. Alex Burger – “Dormir sur ton couch”
  5. Myriam Gendron – “Poor Girl Blues”
  6. LUMIÈRE – “LA.BELLE.JOURNÉE 1971”
  7. Apophis – “On prendra de l’avance plus tard”
  8. Les Shirley – “Fuck It I’m In Love”
  9. Lary Kidd – “De mon âme”
  10. Meggie Lennon – “Night Shift”