Though it may not receive the same media attention as its 2020 US counterpart, the Canadian federal election will take place on Oct. 21, 2019. Canadian students, who have hopefully either voted early over fall break or have their absentee ballots ready, make up one of Penn’s largest demographics of international students and are all probably tired of everyone asking them whether or not they love Drake.

Whether you’re looking for inspiration for a playlist to listen to while you watch the results on election night or are simply curious about the United States’ northern neighbor, below are five of the many Canadian artists who have made an impact on the nation.

Joni Mitchell

Born in Alberta and raised in Saskatchewan, Joni Mitchell brought the folk sounds of western Canada to the streets of Toronto. Throughout her career, which has lasted over half a century, Mitchell has amassed nine Grammy Awards, three Juno Awards, and the love of both Canadians and non–Canadians alike. In 1971, Mitchell released the album Blue, which featured “A Case of You.” On the surface, the song tells the tale of a lost love, but as she laments “Oh, Canada,” the lyrics tell a deeper story of a longing for home and reminds us that, even though she may have moved to Los Angeles and reached international renown, Mitchell’s heart will always be Canadian.

A Tribe Called Red

A Tribe Called Red is an Ottawa–based two–time Juno Award winning music group that blends elements of First Nations music, such as drumming and vocal chanting, with the instrumentals of electronic, hip hop, and reggae music. The group’s name is a tribute to A Tribe Called Quest, an American hip–hop group that produced many songs related to the struggles of African Americans. Similarly, A Tribe Called Red focuses on the injustices faced by First Nations and other Indigenous populations across Canada and the rest of North America. In Stadium Pow Wow, which samples the music, techniques, and history that were once outlawed, the group reflects upon the tension that comes with maintaining traditional practices in a modern settler nation.

The Tragically Hip

There is perhaps no band that is as stereotypically Canadian as The Tragically Hip. Formed in Kingston, Ontario in 1984, The Tragically Hip spent decades dominating the Canadian rock scene, exploring and developing its unique sound, and earning 16 Juno Awards, the Order of Canada, and the love of a nation. The band continued making music together even after Gord Downie, the beloved lead singer, was diagnosed with terminal brain cancer in 2015. The group went on one last tour across Canada, and the tour’s final concert, which was the band’s final show, was held in Kingston on Aug. 20, 2016. The emotional show was broadcast live by the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation on television, radio, and internet steaming platforms. Throughout their 33–year career, The Tragically Hip released countless songs, including Wheat Kings, which captured the everyday moments of human lives across the country.

Coeur de pirate

Béatrice Martin, better known as Coeur de pirate ("Her Pirate Heart") is a singer from Montreal, Québec. Singing primarily in French, one of Canada's two official languages, the 33–year–old has been credited with the introduction of the post–war "chanson française" to the next generation. Throughout her decade–and–a–half–long career, Martin has celebrated more than 1 million album sales, which is a rare achievement for a Canadian artist, and four wins out of 13 nominations at the Félix Awards. Through her songs, such as the popular Comme des enfants, Martin uses her music to celebrate the French language and French–Canadian culture.

Martha and the Muffins

Martha and the Muffins, a rock band originating in Toronto, chose their name to distance themselves from the aggressive names of most punk and rock groups. They have been making music together since the late seventies, but after releasing Delicate in 2010, their first album of new material in 18 years, many of the band members have followed independent career paths, with Martha Ladly becoming a professor of design at the Ontario College of Art and Design University and Martha Johnson pursuing her solo career. Nevertheless, they had many hits in Canada, and their greatest international hit was 1980's “Echo Beach.” The song gained such popularity that one of Toronto’s premier outdoor concert venues, which is located right on the shores of Lake Ontario, is named Echo Beach in honor of the band.


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