Cree Métis artist iskwē is back with her fourth solo album, nīna, and this powerful 10-song collection will take you on a musical and emotional rollercoaster. nīna is the Cree translation for “me,” and after listening to the profoundly autobiographical lyrics, you will understand why. The album juxtaposes samples of natural sounds like wind and rain with powerful synth, creating a dreamy, otherworldly sound. All 10 tracks are lyrically driven, but iskwē’s strong, dynamic words are matched by strong, dynamic instrumentals, such as saxophone, harp, flute, and drums. While earlier tracks like “A Little Piece” and “Blown Away” have a smooth, delicate rhythm that is underscored by iskwē’s breathy voice, later tracks like “The Other Side” and “Waiting for Laughter” have a deeper and darker electronic energy. Ultimately, nīna is a forceful album that demands to be heard, and I was happy to sit back and listen. 

-Kelsey Raynard