Nahko and Medicine for Winnipeg Folk Festival

Nahko and Medicine for Winnipeg Folk Festival

Giuliano Bellabono

Earlier in his life, Nahko Bear spent his summers vagabonding with his dog and playing music on the streets of wherever his van took him. After that, he farmed in Hawaii for seven years. Now, he lives in Los Angeles, is in the middle of a world tour, and performing six times a week.

“I’m kind of like a chameleon,” laughs Bear. “I can adapt to any environment.”

His environment now is on a tour bus, travelling with his band — Nahko and Medicine for the People — throughout the world.

“It’s really important to find that quiet place while you’re on tour to take care of yourself, otherwise you’ll burn out,” says Bear. “It’s a tricky balance, because when you’re in demand it’s hard to take care of yourself, but we’ve got really good team around us that keeps our heads on our shoulders.”

One of his band’s tour stops is at Winnipeg Folk Festival, an event he’s been excited to attend for a long time. Bear has always believed the Winnipeg Folk Festival to be a well-known and respected gathering.

“It’s a big deal for us to be there,” says Bear. “It’s one of the first festivals we’re playing in Canada, so I’m excited to meet the people and feel its vibe.”

Bear describes his band as folk rock with a world message. A message that encourages his listeners to protect the planet, respect cultures, and overall, love each other.

“When I came up with the band name, it was remembering that our ancestors — from wherever we came from — used music a tool for prayer, connectivity, or praise,” says Bear. “It was a source of ceremony.”

Bear and his band describe their music as a healing element for those who hear it.

“We want to provide suggestions toward solutions.”