From Wikwemikong to Nashville to Whitehorse

The Nashville sounds of Crystal Shawanda will ring across the nation as the famed Ojibwe singer, songwriter and guitarist headlines the Whitehorse stage for APTN’s Aboriginal Day Live ’09 on June 20.

Star of the hit APTN series Crystal: Living the Dream (APTN North Saturdays at 6:30 p.m. and APTNHD Fridays at 4:30 p.m.), Shawanda was signed to RCA records in the United States in 2007.

Her debut album, Dawn of a New Day, was released in Canada and the U.S. in the summer of 2008, debuting at No. 2 on the Canadian Country Albums chart and No. 16 on the Billboard Top Country Albums chart stateside.

It reached unique significance when it became the highest charted album by a full-blooded Native American country artist ever tracked in the Nielsen SoundScan era.

Influenced at an early age by the music of Loretta Lynn, the Manitoulin Island-born singer/songwriter penned her first song at age nine and began performing by the time she was 11.

Determined to succeed in the music industry, Shawanda eventually left her home at the Wikwemikong Unceded Indian Reserve in Northeastern Ontario for the bright lights of Nashville.

A hit record, a handful of industry awards, a Juno nomination and hit television series followed.

Shawanda now resides in Nashville and recently toured with Brad Paisley. She hasn’t, however, forgotten about her roots and is passionate about supporting and encouraging Aboriginal youth to follow their dreams.

Shawanda frequently plays at small on-reserve venues, performing and speaking with the young people in attendance.

APTN is proud to bring the music of Crystal Shawanda to all of Canada during Aboriginal Day Live ’09.

The exclusive three-and-a-half hour Aboriginal Day Live ’09 celebration will air live in the Yukon on Saturday, June 20 at 6 p.m. on APTN North (Bell ExpressVu channel 270/Starchoice channel 350) and APTNHD (Bell ExpressVu channel 808). Please also check your local television listings.

For viewers in the host cities, the celebrations are as close as Shipyards Park (Whitehorse) and The Forks (Winnipeg). The event is free to attend and the public is encouraged to bring lawn chairs and be part of the live show.

In Whitehorse, the pre-show begins at 5 p.m. local time with the show starting at 6 p.m.

Be sure to mark this spectacular event on your calendar and watch this column space in the coming weeks as we feature more of the talent that will perform during the show.

Next week we will profile Juno Award-winning guitarist, singer and songwriter Derek Miller.

Also check out APTN’s Aboriginal Day Live ’09 website at

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