Tawahum Bige has transformed their advocacy against the Trans Mountain Pipeline into a powerful album—one that has been in the works for years.
The Łutselkʼe Dene, Plains Cree, and Métis poet and hip-hop artist’s debut album, Bottled Lightning, was released on May 5. Along with resistance, it amplifies the voices of other artists and activists who are speaking out about the harm being caused through lateral violence and colonialism. The album includes features by Kimmortal, Khingz, and HK, as well as collaborations with David Tallarico, Love Lion Productions, and Adrian Avendaño.
“This is not just the product of my hard work, but the mentorship of every collaborator to me in my journey of music production, especially Kimmortal who was the official mentor for the project,” Tawahum said in a press release. “To get this out into the world so it can fully be released from my body is enough, but to bring all the communities together that showed up to protect the land, showed up for Indigenous sovereignty, and showed up to support me is an absolute privilege.”
“Lateral,” the first single off the Vancouver-based artist’s album, was recently named one of Complex’s Best New Canadian Tracks. It features hip-hop artist HK (Higher Knowledge) and explores the topic of lateral violence and the barriers it creates.
The second single, “Bars of Pipe,” was revealed earlier this week. Tawahum’s advocacy against TMX eventually led to their arrest and a month-long incarceration, and this song provides a vivid recollection.
“I wrote this piece during my trial for criminal contempt in the courtroom itself,” they said. “It’s a call-to-action and a warning if we do not act. It’s videogame final boss music, but the final boss is colonialism and climate change.
Tawahum will perform alongside Kimmortal, Khingz, HK and Dani Lion at the Fox Cabaret on May 30 to celebrate the launch of Bottled Lightning.
Bottled Lightning’s album release takes place at the Fox Cabaret May 30. Tickets cost $15 and can be purchased here.