Silla + Rise talk about how their culture inspires their music

If you haven't checked out Silla + Rise, you need to take a listen here. Nominated for Best Indigenous Music Album Of The Year at the 2017 JUNO Awards, Silla + Rise blend Inuit throat-singing and futuristic dancefloor beats to create a unique combination of innovation and tradition.

We sat down with Silla + Rise before their show at MEGAPHONO 2018. In this insightful chat, they spoke about how their identity influences their music and how music connects them to their culture. Listen in and let us know what you think!

Get Your Coin, Girl: Lido Pimienta talks self-sufficiency and not letting anyone steal your magic

By Emma Kenny

In striped pants, an oversized black windbreaker, and a fabulous pair of platforms, Lido Pimienta made a striking image in the plain white space of General Assembly during her MEGAPHONO panel talk on a Saturday morning.

She began by fiddling with the mic, removing it from the stand so she could pace the concrete floor in her irresistibly dynamic way. She was magnetic from the moment she stepped in front of the room, immediately asserting her own importance.

Through tangents and call-outs – “If you just want to sing about flowers and that boy who doesn’t call you back, this talk is not for you!” – Pimienta delivered a beautifully cyclical story of her life and work, peppering practical advice in to a discussion of her past experiences and dreams for the future. Painfully honest and self-aware, she didn’t shy away from discussing past mistakes or failures, and transformed each of those episodes into moments of growth and learning. In short, she delivered some straight-up wisdom to a totally captivated crowd. Talk about someone who has magic.

Part of what makes Pimienta so special is that in an industry that is swimming in all-white, all-male acts – look no further than this year’s disappointing Bluesfest lineup for a local example – she centers women of colour and Indigenous people in everything she does. Unapologetic in her attitude, Pimienta described how she moved from the “very macho” culture of Colombia to London, ON at age nineteen, drawn by what she refers to as Canada’s “fantastic PR.” In London, she and her mother encountered aggressive racism, but Pimienta refused to be held back. She transformed her pain into music, as she had been doing since her time in a hard-core punk band at age 13.

With a long career that is showing no signs of slowing down, Pimienta has a lot of advice to give. Her practical recommendations include getting familiar with Arts Councils and SOCAN, in order to best protect yourself and your art and ensure that you can make money off your passion. She also encourages artists to become “students” of music, learning where their sound or genre comes from and how it has been co-opted by western societies. Pimienta advises you to say “no” to events that don’t serve you or your goals; Pimienta acknowledges that it can be hard to say “no” if you don’t get invited that often in the first place, but she reminds her audience that disingenuous offers will get you nowhere. She also encourages you to learn about contracts, publishing and royalties, and don’t be afraid to ask your colleagues how much they’re getting paid to play shows or festivals.


“Know that what you do deserves more…Always have receipts. Protect your art.”


Some of her other advice is much more personal. Pimienta described the “rock star” image that she felt oppressed by when she began performing; rude, late, drunk, trashing hotel rooms and venues. Pimienta rejects this behaviour and image in favour of extreme professionalism. “The highest standard I follow is my own.” She asks: Do you want to make money off your music or do you want to make money and use your platform to uplift, help, and inspire others? The question feels rhetorical, and reminds us that Pimienta has bigger dreams than just the kind of car she wants (although she has those dreams too, despite not having a drivers licence; a black on black on black Jeep with an all leather interior) and inspires us to dream not only bigger, but better. To dream of how we can turn our good fortune, our gifts, our privileges, our gains into justice for those who don’t have what we do.


“If you don’t take it seriously, no one will. And no one should.”


Pimienta has had her share of setbacks. She recounts a chilling story of an agent who lied to her to get her to agree to go on a tour and then dragged her name through the mud by cancelling countless dates all over the world, without her knowledge that they had been booked in the first place. She tells of the record labels who lauded La Papessa but insisted that she wait a year to release it, suggesting to her that she take that time to lose weight and change her image. In the face of it all, Pimienta was unwavering. “My music is about my soul,” she says, touching her hand to her heart, “not about how I look.”

The death of her brother and the illness of one of her main musical collaborators also served to delay the release of her Polaris Prize-winning album, which she says was ready to put out in 2013. Ultimately, Pimienta released the album on her own, an act that cemented La Papessa as a tool for her healing.

Moving fluidly between contemporary issues and events from her past, Pimienta acknowledges that we live in a nation of lies and limitations, and women of colour and Indigenous people are most directly and frequently punished by systems we like to believe no longer exist. (For example, in Canada, Indigenous men make up 25.2% of all incarcerated men, and Indigenous women make up 36.1% of all incarcerated women.) By talking explicitly about Indigenous sovereignty, music reparations, black power, and espousing her brand of take-no-bullshit feminism in both her music and conference talks, Pimienta centres the experiences the people our systems make most vulnerable. Pimienta is a force for good in the industry, her talk a stark reminder to never underestimate the power of music.

Join us on Spotify!


Girls+ Rock Ottawa is now on Spotify! We'll be putting together playlists full of amazing women and femme artists for you to enjoy and discover!

To kick things off, here is a playlist to make your Mondays a bit easier. We'll be updating it weekly as we put out more #MusicMonday posts, and making new playlists! Give us a follow on Spotify if you don't want to miss out! Is there an artist you'd like to see featured on #MusicMonday? Let us know!

Artists to watch at MEGAPHONO


By Emma Kenny

MEGAPHONO is back this year to give Ottawa a showcase of some the best indie and emerging artists around! If you’ve been following us, you know we’re very excited about the amazing and diverse artists that will be in town. There’s something for everyone at MEGAPHONO 2018, so put on your parka and get ready to navigate the slush puddles, because this fest is worth ending your hibernation for.

Here are 10 MEGAPHONO performances featuring artists you won’t want to miss. Don’t forget to check out our Instagram, Facebook and Twitter for the other rad artists we’ve already featured!



If you like dreamy synth sounds and moody lyrics, you’ll love Lake Urmia. Kat Pavelic and Elsa Mirzaei make muted melodies with a wide emotional range, addressing topics of queer identity, diaspora, and friend-love – you might find yourself dancing and crying.







Fronted by illustrator, video game designer, lyricist and vocalist Shane Keyu Song, Century Egg makes sweetly sincere indie-pop that’s fun as hell. With lyrics sung in both Mandarin and English that cover topics ranging from love and chosen family to eating tasty food, Century Egg will have you laughing and bopping.







Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg artist, musician, poet, storyteller, and writer. Her compelling and powerful work disintegrates the boundary between story and song, showing the permeability, flexibility, and compatibility of two disciplines. Let Simpson carry you away and make you think deeply with her layered lyrics about the land, spirit, and body and sensuous arrangements.



Local surf-rockers Bonnie Doon have released their first full-length album and they’re ready to celebrate! Let them take you to a beach party in the middle of February with their sludgy, wavy jams. Grab a slice of pizza and get ready to get sweaty.



Originally Nguyễn Anh Thư, King Kimbit has was born and raised on unceded Algonquin territory and has travelled all over North America and Jamaica performing and recording. King Kimbit shares a message of love and light in her rhythmic poetry accompanied by musical arrangements. Celebrate the resiliency of women and the world in the face of the white cis heteropatriarchy with King.



If you like soulful vocals and experimental beats, you’ll flip for Muzzy Legault. An Ottawa singer-songwriter with a background in dance and theatre, Muzzy has been creating since a young age. Inspired by Aaliyah and TLC, Muzzy is creating music that spans the genres of jazz, rap, and hip-hop. Keep an eye out for more projects of hers coming in 2018 – you definitely don’t want to miss out.



Get fuzzy with Sparklesaurus, the Ottawa dream-pop group spreading glitter wherever they go. Felicity DeCarle’s vocals are nostalgic of 90s alt-girls, crooning emotionally raw lyrics that weave between shimmering synths and a powerful rhythm section. Sparklesaurus will take you on a journey that may sometimes be dark but always has a silver – and shiny – lining.



An Anishinaabe musician, visual artist, media artist, traditional powwow dancer and artist, and arts educator, Melody explores the possibilities and potential of the viola through a wide range of genres, collaborating with other artists like Lido Pimienta and working solo. Often incorporating laptop looping and processing, their music pushes boundaries and moves from minimalist to evocative to ambient to danceable. Get carried away on sonic waves that will put you in every kind of mood.



Feel as much and as powerfully as you did when you were fourteen but with the maturity that the world has forced on you with Grace Marr. Her precise and far-ranging vocals will make you swoon and rekindle your dreams of nailing every high-note for a room full of captivated strangers.



If you’ve always thought that you were too soft for punk, Nightshades is here to prove you wrong. With songs ranging from garage rock to grunge to post-punk to alternative, there’s a little something for everyone in a Nightshades set. Mallory Giles’ graceful vocals tell bittersweet stories against the backdrop of a bassline tinged with darkness. Let Nightshades put you in the right mood to cope with the rest of winter.

Girls+ Rock Ottawa Nominated for Ottawa Social Impact Awards

We are so thrilled to announce that we've been nominated for the Ottawa Social Impact Awards!

At Girls+ Rock Ottawa, we believe that music is for everyone & we work hard to create a diverse and inclusive music scene. We may be entirely volunteer run, but we’re passionate about our mission and we love what we do, even when the going gets tough!

We could win $1000 and a year long membership to Impact Hub Ottawa- as an entirely volunteer run organization this kind of award would allow us to keep doing the work we already do while extending our reach and growing our programming.

If you ❤ us like we ❤ you, please VOTE for us by following the link below! Voting ends Feb. 8th and can be done daily.…/nominations-and-voting/

Victoire and Girls+ Rock Ottawa Announce Special Partnership!


We are thrilled to announce a new partnership with Victoire! We ❤️ their wide selection of Canadian indie designers and their commitment to supporting our community!

On Black Friday, Nov 24th, 2017,  Victoire will be donating $5 from each sale of any item over $20 to Girls+ Rock Ottawa to help us empower through music!

There’s more...

You can now purchase your own Girls+ Rock Ottawa merch at Victoire - online and in store (Wellington St location)!

Thank you Victoire for supporting our organization!! Click here for the announcement and blog post from former Girls+ Rock Ottawa teacher Ainsley about how her experience with camp has made a positive impact on her life!

Rock Camp for Girls+ 2017 a Huge Success!


20 campers. 4 bands. 48 hours. Rock Camp for Girls+ 2017 took place from November 3rd to 5th and was better than ever, ending off with an amazing showcase at the newly renovated National Arts Centre.

We have so many people to thank for making Rock Camp for Girls 2017 a huge success. Thank you to all the board members, organizers, volunteers, teachers, parents and campers!

And finally, a big thank you to our 2017 Sponsors and Partners!

Girls+ Rock Ottawa Launches New Rock Camp for Women+

Our first ever Rock Camp for Women+ was a success! 17 campers, 15 teachers and many other speakers, performers and volunteers joined us for a weekend of music, friendship and fun, coming together to learn a song, gel as a band and perform in front of friends and family! We met up on Friday as individuals and left as a community, proving to the world that it really is never too late to rock!

To keep on rockin', register for our monthly jam sessions!

Thank you to Rock Camp for Women+ Sponsors for supporting this event!


Sincerest Thanks to the Family of Jean-Sebastien Belleau

It is with heavy hearts that the members of Ottawa Rock Camp for Girls express our sincerest thanks to the family of Jean-Sebastien Belleau for including us in the tribute to his memory.

All donations made to ORC4G in JS' name will be used to establish a permanent fund for the maintenance, repair and preservation of our growing instrument library, in the spirit of honouring JS' much deserved legacy as a passionate supporter of the Ottawa music scene. Our instruments are integral components of all ORC4G programming, and we are touched to be able to care for them in JS' name. We are so saddened by JS' passing and want to again extend our condolences to all those who are in pain from this loss.

Donations are currently accepted through PayPal, if you wish to make other arrangements please email