Hot on the heels of the Native American Music Award nominated Rock & Roll City, Midnight Sparrows – the brainchild of Métis, Cree, and Dene musician Blair Bellerose – is releasing its much-anticipated follow-up, Born in the City.
Identifying as Métis his entire life, the Vancouver-based musician is now also a proud member of Fort McKay First Nation thanks to a successful, women-led challenge to the Indian Act, which allows for more significant gender equity in passing on Indian status through the maternal family line. However, Blair also proudly retains his Métis identity.
Midnight Sparrows play guitar-driven hard rock that combines elements of classic rock, power pop and old-school heavy metal. Engineered and mixed by Juno and Western Canadian Music Award winner Sheldon Zaharko, Born in the City is a six-song guitar rocker that proves the magic and power of rock & roll is alive, well, and stronger than ever.
Thanks to a generous funding contribution from Fort McKay First Nation, Bellerose was able to make Midnight Sparrows’ first-ever music video for the song “Butterfly Wings.”
Bellerose wrote the track as a tribute honor to his mother, an Indigenous elder and residential school survivor, who passed away last year at 87.
“Spread your butterfly wings,” sings Bellerose, “I want to see you be divine / you are divine.”
Writing “Butterfly Wings” allowed Bellerose to hold on to the lessons his mother taught him about living life to its fullest as he processed letting go of the one he held so dear, allowing her to peacefully transition into the spirit world while his life continued to move forward here on earth.
The title track is one of Bellerose’s most personal songs as he reflects on his lived experience of urban Indigeneity.
“I grew up in the city / and it’s probably where I’ll die / but don’t forget that my people came / from the land under the Red River Sky.”
Having lived, worked, and studied in the urban Aboriginal community his entire life, this is a subject that Bellerose is very passionate about, even writing his recent master’s thesis on how government policies impact urban Indigenous non-profit organizations.
“I was born in the city / do you think that I’d be better off dead / like all them Hollywood Indians / with bullets in their chests.”
“Born in the City” defiantly challenges the notion that living in a city renders one’s Indigeneity inauthentic.