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Brave Little State

Homegoings: Mali Obomsawin on her 'suite for Indigenous resistance'

A graphic with a woman in its center. The woman, who is rendered in black and white, is wearing a black long-sleeved shirt, and her long dark hair is down. She has a serious expression on her face. She's wearing long earrings that have white lilies dangling in sets of three. She has her hand on a bass, whose strings have light blue drawn lines that are straight until about half way down, when they become squiggly. The woman and the bass are set inside a circle that's darker red in the middle, and is surrounded by yellow rings on its outer edges. The background is dark, but bright, blue.
Photo: Mali Obomsawin/Courtesy
Graphic: Elodie Reed/Vermont Public
Mali Obomsawin is a musician from Odanak First Nation. Her new album is called "Sweet Tooth," which she describes as "the first authentic statement in my creative journey that comes, like, purely from me."

Brave Little State speaks to Odanak First Nation's Mali Obomsawin about her new album, Sweet Tooth. Across three movements, she blends Wabanaki music with free jazz, and ancient stories with new ones, all of which offers a unique look at the land called Vermont.

Tune in to Vermont Public on Friday, Oct. 28th at 7 p.m. to hear this story on the radio.

Note: Our show is produced for the ear. We recommend listening to the audio if you can! But you can also find a web version of the episode here.

Homegoings is a special series from Brave Little State that features conversations with artists of color who live in Vermont. Follow the series here.

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"I just encourage people not to think of Indigenous people doing modern forms of art or existing in a modern way as a loss, you know? There's no loss in that if we're true to who we are.”
Mali Obomsawin

Who is Mali Obomsawin?

Mali Obomsawin is an award-winning songwriter, bassist and composer from the Abenaki First Nation at Odanak. With an expansive background in American roots, jazz, and indie rock, Obomsawin carries several music traditions and adeptly demonstrates the continuum of American musical genres. A Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist, Mali has received acclaim from NPR, Rolling Stone, and Paste Magazine, and toured internationally with her former band Lula Wiles.

For more information, check out her website.

Sweet Tooth is out now. Listen below:

Watch the music video for "Wawasint8da:"




Thanks so much for listening to the show, and thanks to David Hess for the great question. 

Josh Crane reported this episode and did the mix and sound design. Editing and additional production from Angela Evancie, Myra Flynn, Elodie Reed and Mark Davis. Ty Gibbons composed our theme music; other music by Mali Obomsawin.

Special thanks to Savannah Maher, Gregory Cajete, Seth Bedard, Melody Mackin, and to Mali Obomsawin for her input and help with this episode.

As always, our journalism is better when you’re a part of it.

Brave Little State is a production of Vermont Public.


Brave Little State HomegoingsBrave Little State
Josh Crane is part of Vermont Public's Engagement Journalism team. He's the senior producer and managing editor for Brave Little State, a podcast based on questions about Vermont that have been asked and voted on by the audience, and runs Vermont Public's Sonic ID project.
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