Art Napoleon

Genre: Folk
Hometown: Victoria, BC, Canada

Art Napoleon is a sarcastic, truth-telling songwriter who carves his own path between his Indigenous worldview and the world of rootsy, outlaw country music. He has absorbed the influences of storytellers like Johnny Cash, John Prine, and poet John Trudell and made it distinctly his own. There are not many country songwriters telling stories from an Indigenous knowledge perspective; writing about the land, decolonial narratives, Rez life and the everyday observances of living in two worlds. Art has shared the stage with Richie Havens, John Boutte, Guy Clark and the trailblazing Buffy St. Marie.

Raised off the land in a hunting culture in the northern boreal woodlands of Canada, Napoleon is the real deal. This former bushman turned educator and TV host (Moosemeat & Marmalade), sings with authenticity, depth and substance. He may be from the remote wilds but he is drawn to the Texas narrative songwriters. His music could be labelled roots or alt-country, but he doesn’t shy away from pushing edges. Onstage he is quick witted, shifting smoothly back and forth from his husky baritone to an eerie, powerful, vibrato-laced falsetto chanting style borrowed from his Cree and Dene heritage. In between songs, prepare to sit by a campfire and learn a thing or two from a guy who knows about building bridges…or burning them.

Posted on 5/17/09