Leanne Betasamosake Simpson is a renowned Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg artist, musician, poet and writer, who has been widely recognized as one of the most compelling Indigenous voices of her generation. Her work breaks open the boundaries between story and song—bringing audiences into a rich and layered world of sound, light, and sovereign creativity.
Leanne is both a gifted vocalist and acclaimed poet whose 2014 debut album, Islands of Decolonial Love, combined poetry, short stories, and musical collaborations with A Tribe Called Red, Cris Derksen, and Sean Conway. The accompanying book of short stories and poetry of the same name was nominated for a 2014 ReLit Award. Leanne has performed at arts and literary festivals across Canada and Turtle Island; she is in alum and regular contributor to Jason Collett’s acclaimed Basement Review performance series; and she has shared the stage with Jason Collett, Ron Sexmith, Sarah Harmer, Shad, AroarA, Kevin Drew, Damian Rogers, Andy Kim, Jennifer Castle, Vag Halen, Lynn Crosbie and many others.
As a writer, Leanne was named the inaugural RBC Charles Taylor Emerging writer by Thomas King, and her latest book of short stories, This Accident of Being Lost was a finalist in the 2017/18 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Trillium Book Award. She has published extensive fiction and poetry in both book and magazine form, in the Walrus, Arc Poetry Magazine, Geist, and C Magazine. In 2018, Leanne was awarded the inaugural Outstanding Indigenous Artist at the Peterborough Arts Awards.
Leanne’s new album, f(l)light, is a haunting collection of story-songs that effortlessly interweave Simpson’s complex poetics and multi-layered stories of the land, spirit, and body with lush acoustic and electronic arrangements. Recorded and produced by an acclaimed cast of Indigenous and non-Indigenous musicians including: Jonas Bonnetta (Evening Hymns), James Bunton (Ohbijou, Light Fires, Forest City Lovers), Juno-nominated Cree/Metis cellist Cris Derksen, Nick Ferrio (The Burning Hell), Ojibwe/Cree singer-songwriter Tara Williamson, and Anishinaabe singer-songwriter Ansley Simpson, f(l)ight was released in the fall of 2016.