New Week-long Summer AIRcamp Teaches Indigenous Youth Songwriting and Music Production

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Cassidy Mann
Derek Benjamin Music
Desiree Dorion
Emma Peterson
Hera Nalam
Ila Barker
Lana Winterhalt
Marisolle Negash
The O.B.

Indigenous music program AIRsessions is launching AIRcamp, a new opportunity for youth to connect and create this summer. Running August 29 in-person at the Indigenous Family Centre, the free week-long music mentorship will connect aspiring and up-and-coming Indigenous musicians ages 15-30 with established artists and music industry professionals.

Facilitated by AIRsessions founder Ila Barker along with Ashley Bieniarz, AIRcamp will focus on music production, sharing insight into songwriting and music production, and include opportunities for skill sharing. Participants will have a chance to showcase on September 3 at an early evening event.

Artists joining AIRcamp as mentors include pop singer/songwriter Cassidy Mann, hip hop producer Derek Benjamin, JUNO-nominated country artist Desiree Dorion, country singer/songwriter Emma Peterson, new wave R&B singer HAVS, dream pop artist Hera Nalam, pop artist and producer Lana Winterhalt, R&B songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Marisolle Negash, rapper and performer Ruiz, and rapper and beat-maker The OB.

Industry mentors include Alan Greyeyes, festival director of sākihiwē festivalNCI FM general manager David McLeod, Indigenous Music Development Coordinator at Manitoba Music Shaneen Robinson-Desjarlais, and Manitoba Film & Music's manager of music programs, Stephen Carroll. 

To get involved, sign up via

About AIRsessions
Barker’s created and facilitates a workshop series called AIRsessions, or “artist in residence sessions” which she founded in 2018. AIRsessions, now in its third season, is hosted virtually via Zoom, is free, and targets young Indigenous aspiring artists across Canada. The third season features an all-Indigenous, national list of mentors from a wide variety of genres and backgrounds. The series is funded by the Canada Council for the Arts. Currently Barker is in the planning stages of seasons four through six of AIRsessions which will see the program evolve. The key partnerships are going to continue, but the National Arts Centre is handing the program over to Barker in order for this workshop series to become fully Indigenous owned, operated and facilitated.

About the Indigenous Family Centre
Indigenous Family Centre is a non-profit organisation, serving Winnipeg's north end. Providing families with opportunities to build communities, learn about Indigenous culture, develop positive life skills, and experience healing.

About the Facilitators
With her soulful voice and lyrics that wash over the minds and hearts of audiences like waves, singer-songwriter Ila Barker is a force to be reckoned with.This folk-soul artist of Anishinaabe and settler heritage, takes listeners on an introspective journey, inviting them to connect deeply with their own emotions. Her upcoming album Fool Under Water (2022) is an honour song to her metamorphosis into the powerhouse she is today and a promise that the tide will turn.

Ashley Bieniarz, BMus [She/they] is the Métis and Polish avant-pop artist “Kwiat” and is currently working with Indigenous-owned record label Red Music Rising and international lyric licensing company LyricFind for the revitalization and reclamation of Indigenous languages. Ashley recently finished her role at Manitoba Music as the Indigenous Music Development Coordinator creating professional development and export opportunities for Indigenous artists across Canada. Ashley supports the Canadian songwriting scene through workshops and camps as founder of the WCMA nominated project, Songsmiths (formerly Winnipeg
Music Project).


This event is a Manitoba Music partnered event. For more info about partnership, please visit

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