Single Artwork by Gabrielle Giroux, Encore Graphics
Electric Religious is the project of Edmonton-based Métis singer-songwriter, Brandon Baker. Electric Religious’ debut album, Yeah, Yeah, No (2018) featured the single “Revolution,” which achieved a coveted spot in the CBC Searchlight Top 100 in 2019, and spent multiple weeks at #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown.
Electric Religious is now following up with a new single, “Catherine,” which exemplifies Baker’s guitar-driven music, full of inspiration and hope. Lyrically the song was inspired by Leonard Cohen’s novel, Beautiful Losers, which is about a fictional character’s obsession with a historical woman, Catherine Tekawitha.
From The Artist : “I was inspired by Leonard Cohen’s novel, Beautiful Losers, about a fictional character’s obsession with Catherine – a historical woman and controversial figure embodying the suffering of Indigenous people and the ugly realities of colonialism. “Catherine Tekakwitha, who are you? Are you (1656-1680)? Is that enough? Are you the Iroquois Virgin? Are you the Lily of the Shores of the Mohawk River? Can I love you in my own way?” – Leonard Cohen
I grew up Catholic and found the entire experience bewildering. As a child, I felt on one hand, in awe that there was a greater power, a God who knew my secrets, who had the power to punish. On the other, I came to feel as if it was all a great conspiracy, designed only to control my behaviour rather than to lead me towards the light.
This push and pull has followed me throughout my life—half one thing, half another. Half mystery and beauty, half mistrust. Catherine—half Mohawk, half Catholic saint… who are you? Do I know you? Are you me?
I have been working to reconnect with my Indigenous ancestry and learn more about my Métis culture. I find myself thinking about the moment my ancestors on Turtle Island merged with my European ancestors in the Haudenosaunee Confederacy of Northeast North America. My Scottish forefathers, the Campbell’s, expanded the Northwest Trading Company’s routes, moving towards the western prairies and bringing with them their Mohawk wives and children. My curiosity about my lineage led me to the Iroquois, and the life of Catherine Tekakwitha, and the dichotomy of an Indigenous laywoman canonized as a Saint by the Roman Catholic church.”