Here is a protest song that began its life in northern Canada, where Adrian Sutherland’s remote Cree community, Attawapiskat, faced a crisis due to contaminated water. Anger over political finger-pointing and inaction inspired the song ‘Politician Man’. However, it has since taken on greater meaning for those around the world who are dissatisfied with politics and politicians. The song ended up topping the Indigenous Music Countdown chart and the video has picked up an award from a prestigious Canadian film festival.
Sutherland explains the song: “The relationship between Canada and First Nations has been difficult for a long time. Politician Man is about this relationship, and the need for all of us – politicians, chiefs, leaders, Indigenous people, all people – to start listening to each other, and move past the blaming. We all need to do our part. That’s the message in the song. I think the themes in Politician Man are relevant no matter where you live. There is so much turmoil today, and every country has struggles and issues with their political systems. Ordinary people often feel like they don’t have a voice, and movements happening right now are reflective of that. We all need our politicians to listen more, and to stop playing politics.”
Sutherland’s debut single is filled with promise and we look forward to his upcoming debut full-length record, which will be his first solo effort after releasing four albums with his band Midnight Shine. While this began as a protest song from a remote part of Canada, radio play in countries around the world shows that it contains universal truths and widespread concerns. Take note.