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Errol Ranville

One of the first Canadian Indigenous musicians to establish international recognition, Errol Ranville has long been blazing the trail for others.

He wasn't even a teenager yet when he decided he wanted to devote his life to music. "I was 12 years old and all my older brothers sang and played guitar or instrument," says Ranville, who became a self-taught musician while still living in his hometown of Eddystone, Manitoba.

He and his brothers paid their dues playing long hours for little pay in the bar scene. Unbeknownst to them, what they were really doing is laying the foundation for a career that would span 52 years, 19 albums, and two lifetime achievement awards.

Ranville surfaced on the national music scene with his C-Weed Band in 1980 with a cover of The Band's Evangeline. The song hit number one on the Canadian Country Music Charts, and thrust him into the spotlight, where he would receive back-to-back nominations at the JUNO Awards.

A new documentary that released this fall chronicles the life of Ranville. Directed by Rick Skene, The Last Ride premiered at the Edmonton International Film Festival, where it won the Jury Award for Best Canadian Documentary Short. It also screened at the Winnipeg Aboriginal Film Festival, the Gimme Some Truth documentary festival, and will air on the Bravo television channel this winter.

Ranville's latest single Brand New World spent the better part of this year on the Indigenous Music Countdown. He remains a passionate performer within, and an advocate for, Canada?s Indigenous music community. All the while, he continues to take his own career in stride, and with a realistic approach.

"It's a living," he says, defining his own version of success as being able to pay his bills, being satisfied, and writing and recording new songs. He is currently working on a new album, on writing a book, and on reconciliation.

What satisfies him the most these days is motivating young players, and showcasing new talent like Ali Fontaine. The advice he would give to young musicians is to "be honest, true to your soul, and write."

It has always been Ranville's mission to bring Aboriginal music to the mainstream, and because of pioneers like him, today's future looks brighter than ever. 

RoseAnna Schick is a freelance writer and entertainment publicist. If you?d like to see your story in next month?s Entertainment Beat, please email her at

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