This week’s Song of the Day picks, as chosen by DJ Miss Ashley, coincide with Indigenous Peoples’ Day. While Indigenous Peoples’ Day is recognized on October 9, KEXP will be paying tribute to Indigenous artists throughout the whole week here and throughout the rest of our podcasts and programming. Learn more about our Indigenous Peoples’ Day coverage

Mali Obomsawin is an award-winning jazz musician from Abenaki First Nation at Odanak. Though she only just released her debut album, Sweet Tooth, in 2022, her rise and acclaim has been meteoric. She’s been called one of the top 10 emerging jazz artists by, earning critical acclaim from NPR, The Guardian, and JazzTimes. She also received the International Folk music Association’s Rising Tide Award in 2022. 

But all that doesn’t do Obomsawin’s work justice. Sweet Tooth bridges the celestial connections between jazz and traditional indigenous music, embracing the freedom of expression that both traditions allow, using sounds instead of words to articulate feelings. Sweet Tooth bridges traditional songs from Obomsawin’s life with new original compositions. One of the latter comes with “Lineage.” A sprawling instrumental, the song gives the feeling of traversing space and time in the way that only great jazz can do. As a bassist by trade, Obomsawin’s composition digs deep into the low feelings of searching and feeling your way through life. Matched with the song’s title, you can feel an exploration of her past and possibly even the future. When her voice does come in and out throughout the song, it feels like a grounding in this deep, immersive, swell of the universe. 

Believe the hype, maybe even take it further. Obomsawin is tapping into something greater than herself on this record and it’s a joy to experience. - Dusty Henry

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