Twin Flames band creates a sonic landscape that spans Canada and the Arctic. Honouring their ancestors, they sing songs in English, Inuttitut and French. Consecutive year winners 2016 and 2017 of The Canadian Folk Music Award; Aboriginal Songwriters of the year. This multi-award-winning husband and wife duo is made up of Chelsey June and Jaaji both of Indigenous Backgrounds. Jaaji is Inuk and Mohawk from Nunavik and Chelsey June métis (Algonquin Cree) from Ottawa. Twin Flames push the boundaries of “Contemporary Folk”, with songs that incorporate both Western and traditional instruments. Despite polar opposite backgrounds Twin Flames found a common musical language.
Twin Flames has now played over 900 shows in their short five years with performances that have taken them across Canada, remote Arctic communities, Greenland, The United States and France. What started as small flame turned into a raging fire, staying lit in the hearts of fans and listeners. Chelsey June and Jaaji write with a passion that comes from their souls and transcends into their musical creations. Together they share a great ability to wrap Indigenous/Inuit stories in traditional and non-traditional styles. Together they prove that music should be about how it makes the listener feel. With thought-provoking songs, they gently educate audiences on the realities of Indigenous, Inuit and métis history as well as current issues.
In 2015 They released their debut album Jaaji and Chelsey June Twin Flames. On Dec 1st 2015 Live at Cabaret la Basoche, they were chosen as favorite artists, the album received a total of 5 nominations from several different award platforms and their first win as Aboriginal Songwriters of the year at the 2016 Canadian Folk Music Awards. Jaaji & Chelsey June Twin Flames also made it to the top of music charts with their song Porchlight that reached #1on The Indigenous Music Countdowns top 40.
In June 2017 they released their much anticipated second album Signal Fire. With Signal Fire Twin Flames further pushed the boundaries of “Contemporary Folk”. Signal Fire incorporates both Western and Indigenous instruments as well as various traditional instruments from around the world. Signal Fire has gained much recognition. They won Aboriginal Songwriters of the year for the second time at the 2017 Canadian Folk Music Awards. They also won Two Native American Music Awards in the United States: Best Folk Album and Group of the Year. “Ottawa's Twin Flames win big at Native American music awards Duo's 7 nominations were the most ever for a single artist” CBC Signal Fire has earned an impressive 17 nominations total from several award platforms throughout Canada and the United States.
Most recently Twin Flames were chosen as artists in residence for Folk Alliance International 2019 conference, they were partnered with UNESCO to write the official song to celebrate the International Year of Indigenous Languages. The song Titled Human has been making a large impact on the international community. This song has reached #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown. Fun Fact: Their music Video Broke Down Ski'tuuq nominated Best Music Video Recording Performance at the Native American Music Awards was the first Inuttitut music video to make it into best Music video Category and onto Much Music. Twin Flames are always proud and honored to represent their cultures and diversity through music.
Before Twin Flames: Jaaji and Chelsey met in the summer of 2014 during the filming of the television series TAM (Talent Autochtones Musicaux) for APTN which both were chosen to appear as individual artists. The night before filming began, they sat around a campfire with the crew, their voices met in harmony before they knew each others name, a match so perfect right from the start. That evening marked the beginning of their trademark melodic harmonies and their journey together in life and music. Several months later the two decided to form Twin Flames. They married in September of 2017 surrounded by their combined family of six children.
The joining of the two artists was in a sense an experiment. Jaaji was already well known across the Arctic and his music was loved and embraced by many. Chelsey also had a following of fans that had taken to her roots storytelling music. Releasing an album that included three languages and starting out on a summer tour in 2015 was a gamble. The pair were not sure how they would be accepted because of language barriers in the North and the South. Would the Inuit people be open to Chelsey June’s English/French language music? and would the people of the south be open to Jaaji’s Inuttitut language music? The first Summer tour turned out to be a great success! The openness did not always come right away but once people heard the music of Twin Flames the barriers seemed to disappear. Together they prove that music has an awesome power to connect people from everywhere and that love is all around us if we choose to see it.
Other nominations to date include:
2018 -Winners: Native American Music Award - Best Folk Recording
2018 -Winners: Native American Music Award - Duo of the Year
2018 - Nominated: Native American Music Awards - Record of the Year
2018 -Nominated: Native American Music Awards - Song of the Year (Rise Up)
2018 - Nominated: Native American Music Awards - Best Americana Recording
2018 - Nominated: Native American Music Awards - Best Historical/Linguistic Performance
2018 - Nominated: Native American Music Awards - Best Music Video Recording Performance “Broke Down Ski’Tuuq
2018 - Nominated: Indigenous Music Awards, Folk Album of the year
2018 - Nominated: Indian Summer Music Awards, Folk Album of the year
2018 - Nominated: Indian Summer Music Awards, POP song of the year
2018 - Nominated: Indian Summer Music Awards, Best Native American Vocal
2017 - Awarded: Canadian Folk Music Awards, Aboriginal Songwriters of the year
2017 - Nominated: Canadian Folk Music Awards, Vocal Group of the Year
2017 - Nominated: Canadian Folk Music Awards, World Group of the Year
2017 - Nominated: Teweikan Music Awards, Best Folk Band
2017 - Nominated: Teweikan Music Awards, Emerging Artists of the year
2017 - Nominated: Teweikan Music Awards, Album of the year
2016 - Awarded: Canadian Folk Music Awards, Aboriginal Songwriters of the year
2016 - Nominated: Native American Music Awards, Best Folk Recording
2016 - Nominated: Native American Music Awards, Debut Duo of the Year
2016 - Nominated: Independent Music Awards, Best Indigenous Artists
2016 - Nominated: Indigenous Music Awards, Best Folk Album.
Highlights: Television Features: In Focus APTN, TAM APTN, Rogers “Entre Nous”, CTV Morning, Radio Canada, TVA Arts and Culture, CBC News Jaaji IMA winner Best Indigenous Language Album Nunaga 2015 Chelsey June IMA nomination Best Folk Album Finding me 2015 Regular spinning on CBC Radio across Canada Regular Spinning on Sirius XM Earth Song radio special feature in LA Top Indie Band 2016 for Native Trailblazers radio over broadcast to over 500 communities CBC Unreserved with Rosanna Deerchild Campus radio charts CKCU # 1 song Porchlight and Human on Top 40 Aboriginal music countdown Song Isuma Chosen for CBC David Suzuki’s Nature of things “Trapped in a Human Zoo” Song Nunaga Chosen for Award-winning Documentary “Okpik’s Dream” - Their first single titled Isuma "Thought" Inspired by the Journal of Abraham Ulkirab has been featured in CBC's David Suzuki's Nature of things: Trapped in a Human Zoo. Abraham Ulkirab was an Inuit man taken away from Labrador in the 1800's by ship to Europe where he became a human exhibition for the world to see. Unfortunately, he did not survive more than six months he passed away along with his wife and daughter he never returned home to his community. Isuma was written by Jaaji with a French dialogue written by Chelsey June the song is portrayed as an Inner monologue to ones self a conversation between the heart and the mind it depicts a longing for loved ones and familiar surroundings. Isuma has been embraced by many. A preview can be heard on SoundCloud Listen here. To learn more about Abraham's Story check out the book In The Footsteps Of Abraham Ulrikab by France Rivet.
Chelsey June - Lead Vocal and Songwriter
Chelsey June has been capturing the hearts of audiences with her soulful voice and unique songwriting skills. Chelsey grew up in Ottawa and Gatineau with her mother who was from Maniwaki she spent her childhood surrounded by music, it was this early introduction to a wide variety of songs that helped shape her unique sound and style.
During her teenage years, Chelsey began to write poetry. In her 20’s she decided to try songwriting. Songs came very naturally and writing became an instant passion. Chelsey grew up with little information regarding her Indigenous heritage she was just told that she was Indigenous. Her culture was, unfortunately, something that was lost in her family due to the fear and the stigma associated with being Métis.
In her adult years, Chelsey met with many Aboriginal elders and embarked on her personal journey of learning about her roots. Not only did she reconnect with her culture but she also shared it with her family. Chelsey was able to connect with the traditional teachings and stories and for the first time in her life she finally felt like she was "home". She refers to these feelings as blood memories thoughts and feelings that she always carried. "Although I did not get the opportunity to grow up with my culture I always felt like it was a part of me." Chelsey makes a point to be an advocate for all people who find it hard to find their place." I am proud to be a Métis woman and humbled that I get to have a voice in this great big world."
She released her first album “Seize the day” in 2013 and her EP “Finding me” which was nominated best Folk album at the 2015 Indigenous music awards and the debut album Jaaji & Chelsey June Twin Flames in 2015.
Jaaji - Lead Vocal and Songwriter
PRONOUNCED: Yaah Ye
Jaaji is an Inuit name derived from the English name George. Jaaji grew up in a humble little community called Quaqtaq in Northern Nunavik where he was raised by his Grandparents with the Traditional ways of the Inuit. Many of his influence in songwriting depicts life on the land.
Jaaji spent his summers as a child with his biological father in Kahnawake, a reserve of the traditionally Iroquoian-speaking Mohawk nation on the south shore of the St. Lawrence River. Jaaji’s biological father attempted to teach him how to play guitar at the age of 7 but Jaaji preferred to play outside. It was only later in life that Jaaji picked up Guitar and started to write his own songs.
A former police officer it was only in In 2014 Jaaji decided to commit to music full time and see where it would take him. Jaaji has now become a household name in Inuit based Music. He is working hard to ensure that his voice and musical storytelling is heard around the Arctic and the world. Jaaji was busy in his debut year on the music scene breaking internet records for the North with his hit song Nunaga he also TV appeared on TAM (Talente Autochtone Musicaux) which showcases Aboriginal Music. His Album Nunaga won Best Indigenous Language album at the 2015 Indigenous Music Awards.
He has been featured on CBC North CBC Montreal, Radio Canada, K103.9 FM, just to name a few. Aside from playing in a band, Jaaji teaches Inuttitut songwriting at the Nunavut Sivuniksavut College in Ottawa in 2015 and is also studying to be a Sound Engineer at the Technical Audio Recording Academy. Jaaji is also a public figure and does seminars and workshops with his partner and Bandmate Chelsey June regarding Social Awareness, Alternative Measures to healthy living. Check out Twin Flames workshops Tab for more info.