With roots running deep in the prairies, Ojibwe Artist Entrepreneur Ila Barker is set to make a lasting impact on the music industry on Turtle Island (North America). Barker graduated in 2016 from the University of Winnipeg with a Bachelor of the Arts in Conflict Resolution, which impacts both her songwriting and work greatly. Barker has nearly 10 years of performance experience under her belt and one studio album and has new music on the way.

Currently Ila is working for Manitoba Music as the Coordinator for the Indigenous Music Development Program on contract until September 2019. Notable projects Barker has produced as the IMDP coordinator include “Market Builder”, a week long professional development trip for nine export-ready

Indigenous identifying artists and one established industry professional to Toronto to enhance their markets and excel their careers. Barker organised three panels with over a dozen industry professionals, multiple tours of relevant spaces including Spotify, the Junos/CARAS, FACTOR, and Massey Hall, over 40 one-on-one meetings, a community open-mic, multiple networking dinners and more.

Barker also works as a remote contract facilitator for the National Art Centre. Through this she has produced several workshop series in varying lengths in Winnipeg, Churchill, and Cross Lake, has headed consultation trips to meet with community leaders about NAC engagement. Barker’s main project is a workshop series called #AIRsessions, or “artist in residence sessions”. #AIRsessions happens twice monthly at the Indigenous Family Centre, is free, and targets young Indigenous-identifying artists. The series is funded by the NAC, Manitoba Music and the Indigenous Music Development Program and sākihiwē festival, and sponsored by local grocer Food Fare Inc. who provides ingredients for a free meal each sessions, and by the IFC who provides a space and staff member to prepare the meal. Each session there is one or two mentors, which change each week giving employment opportunity to local Indigenous professionals, and providing attendees with a unique opportunity to connect with a variety of mentors from their community.

With soul and voice well beyond her years, Ojibwe folk soul artist Ila Barker captures audiences with her sweet melodies and pure, warm-honey vocals. Fusing authentic lyrics and timeless notes this Manitoba grown storyteller inspires a moment of serenity and blissful escape for those she serenades.

Regina Folk Festival 2019. Be there.