The world’s first Innu reggae artist comes from the Maliotenam reserve east of Sept-îles, in northeast Québec. His mother tongue is French, and he learned the Innu language only later, because he wanted to. He was around 12 years old when, upon discovering the very popular group Kashtin at the Innu Nikamu festival in Maliotenam, he decided to move closer to his indigenous roots. His father bought him a guitar, and he learned Innu to sing in his ancestral language and to reconnect with his people.
Shauit first became known in 2007 when he collaborated on the hit track “Les Nomades” with his Algonquin friend, the rapper Samian. He identified with dancehall, a sunny musical genre that nevertheless speaks of poverty and violence. His first eponymous mini-album, which appeared in 2014, speaks mostly of celebration, but his second work, “Apu Peikussiaku,” issued in 2017, has a more spiritual tone and bears a message of peace and environmental preservation.
Strongly inspired by his Innu roots and traditional music, he blends various popular genres (folk, country, rock, reggae, etc.) and offers honest and committed songs, filled with emotion and personal experience. A proud representative of indigenous culture, Shauit won the award for “Best North American Indigenous Language Album” at the Indigenous Music Awards in May 2018, as well as the Indigenous Songwriter of the Year award at the 14th Canadian Folk Music Awards.
Born in Port-au-Prince, Haiti, Wesli (Wesley Louissaint) built his first guitar out of an old NGO- provided oil can and nylon shoe lace when he was just eight years old. Coming from a family of 8 children where music was a daily food for the soul, it became second nature to him, a unique and vital way out of the violence and misery found in the surrounding ghetto. Wesli’s musical journey started in the gospel choir of his local church and then he adopted the guitar as his main instrument. Ever since, Wesli has worked relentlessly, perfecting his art, his only hope for a better life. Very early, he took part in serious projects such as the afro-roots Jazz 4ever quartet and SoKute. He performed in many of Haiti’s concert halls and traveled abroad with Kreyol Mizik company. In his teens, Wesli produced and recorded the album Horizon with SoKute. Their soul music gathered wide success and even made them famous outside Haiti.
In 2001, Wesli, signer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, chose to move to Montreal in pursuit of his musical career. He worked with the team from Productions Nuits d'Afrique as well as important festivals such as les Francofolies and the Internation Jazz Festival in Montreal.
The release of his second album, Liberté dans le noir, in December 2011, has confirmed those affirmations. The 17 tracks feature duos with many major bands and artists: the great Tiken Jah Fakoly, Mes Aieux, Radio Radio, Paul Cargnello, Boogat and Karma Atchykah.
Be it in an acoustic formation (guitar, voice and percussion) or with his big band, Wesli consistently delivers a rich, festive and uniquely engaging sound. He conquers the heart of his audience through complex musical arrangements and universal messages of hope, truth and peace.