Five Questions With Leela Gilday

Yellowknife artist, Leela Gilday is releasing her brand new album, North Star Calling on September 6, 2019. The album, which is her first in 5 years, features the previously released singles, “Keintah Naste Ju” (pronounced Kay-tah Naht-say Joo), and “Hard Ground”.

Check out “Keintah Naste Ju” and find out more about Leela via our Five Questions With segment.

Care to introduce yourself to our readers?

My name is Leela Gilday and I am singer/songwriter from the Dene Nation located in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. I began singing before I could walk and started performing solo when I was 8. I live in my home and travel around the world sharing music with the help of my 4-piece band.

Tell us a bit about your music and writing style?

I write Indigenous Folk Roots music which is contemporary music rooted in traditional elements such as the drum, the heartbeat, and our Dene songs. My music revolves around my voice, which I trained for many years through studying opera, but also singing jazz, blues, and soul music. I love vocal harmonies, and I love singing passionately. Some of my earliest vocal role models were Aretha, Stevie and Whitney, as well as local Dene drummers/singers, and opera singers such as Dietrich Fischer-Dieskau, and (Maori hero) Kiri Te Kanawa.
My songs, my music are reflective of a deep connection to and passion for my land, my people, and the things that impact us.

Do you have any upcoming shows? For someone who has yet to see you live, how would you explain your live performance?

I am playing in Hamburg (Germany,) Yellowknife, Toronto, Whitehorse, Vancouver, Tampere (Finland), Edmonton, Calgary, Revelstoke, and Canmore in the next 3 months. All details will be released on my website with the launch of the new record “North Star Calling” (Sept 6).
For someone who has not seen me live yet, I would say that I seek to connect with my audiences on many levels, and people who attend my shows can feel that energy through my music and voice. I have been described as a passionate, soulful singer who has moved people to tears. I also like to celebrate life and share joy with all my listeners. I like to make people laugh as well. My shows are uplifting, empowering, and sometimes like a spiritual experience. 🙂

If you were asked to suggest only one of your songs for someone to hear, which would it be?

I write about the things and people that impact me and my people. My song “K’eintah Natse Ju” (we are healing together) is about healing our relationships within our own indigenous communities, after so many years of legislated policies aimed at breaking down that family structure in order to destroy our families. The song is actually a song of healing and longing. It also has some amazing guests on it such and a friend choir singing backups, as well as a full room of Dene drummers mixed in.

Canadian Beats is all about Canadian music, so who are your current favourite Canadian bands/ artists?

Jay Gilday
Logaan Staats
Celeigh Cardinal
William Prince
Jadea Kelly
Jeremy Dutcher

Connect with Leela Gilday:

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