Indigenous hip-hop trio Gmanwolf includes 17-year-old founder/producer/rapper WolfMan (AKA Galveston Barnaby), 20-year-old rapper Waldo (AKA Dustin Isaac), and 18-year-old rapper Static Kane (AKA Brandon Wysote). Living on the Listuguj First Nation in Quebec, Gmanwolf turned to music as a constructive way of dealing with the daily challenges of life on the reservation. After honing their musical skills through constant writing and recording since 2008, the group recorded “All We Need Is Change” in 2012, which instantly resonated with their community. The positive yet realistic lyrics encourage community members to choose music and education as a healthy outlet and turn away from drugs.
Through their efforts to make a difference in their First Nation by inspiring youth to be drug-free, ambitious, and hard-working, the trio caught the attention of Canadian news network CBC, which published a feature on Gmanwolf titled “Northern Rappers Use Music To Spread Positive Message.” This national coverage immediately put them on the Revolution Harmony radar, as the group’s meaningful and hopeful lyrics were in perfect alignment with the label’s ethos. Revolution Harmony approached Gmanwolf in June 2012 and has been working behind-the-scenes with them ever since.
After their flagship track “All We Need Is Change” was chosen as the debut single, it grew into an international recording project, with live instruments performed by Stefan Loh (We Claimed Sentience Once) in Bristol, UK and vocals recorded at Gmanwolf Productions in Listuguj, Canada. Mixing/mastering was done by Rohan Onraet (Shakira, Robbie Williams, etc.) in London, UK.
“All We Need Is Change” music Video, buy the single on iTunes here.
Gmanwolf founder WolfMan says that signing to Revolution Harmony was a very big step in their music career, but they weren’t going to celebrate yet. “As this is only the beginning, ‘All We Need Is Change.’ This song is dedicated to everyone living these real-life struggles that most other people only read about in the news but happens every day right here in our community. We thought that making a song about things that matter will hopefully inspire those who are in the same boat as us to stay focused and work hard. The ‘Idle No More’ movement is helping all people across Canada, and that was the goal for this song, too. Even though we rap about us First Nations, ‘All We Need Is Change’ is actually for anyone going through a difficult time who needs change.”
Revolution Harmony founder Ray Holroyd talked about signing Gmanwolf: “The discovery of these young, positive, talented, and focused First Nations rappers is definitely one of my most meaningful and exciting A&R finds to date. I’ve actually been working closely with Gmanwolf for about nine months now, so I’m monumentally honoured and proud to finally unveil them to the world.” He continues about the role of Gmanwolf in the ‘Idle No More’ movement. “It’s vital to engage the Native youth in the revolution in order to ensure its longevity and eventual success, and the constructive approach that Gmanwolf raps about has already inspired their Listuguj community, and with the worldwide release of ‘All We Need Is Change,’ we hope to take their message from the east coast right across Canada to the west coast and far beyond. And, this anthemic debut single is only the first step of their journey, as Gmanwolf is now idle no more!”
Gmanwolf plans to release their first EP this July and looks forward to hitting the road as soon as they can find the right agent and manager. “We’ve played three gigs so far: on our rez, the Gesgapegiag First Nation, and the Prismatic Festival in Halifax, Nova Scotia, which is Canada’s premier festival for new works by culturally diverse artists,” said the WolfMan. “We are getting a lot of positive feedback from the audiences we’ve played so far, and people tell us to ‘follow our dreams,’ which of course we are!”
Both Wolfman and Static Cane are still in high school, while Waldo just got employment. You can follow Gmanwolf Productions on their Facebook page and Twitter (@Gmanwolf) or listen to their music video on the Revolution Harmony website.