Northern Cree prepare for their return to the Grammy Awards – Home | q | CBC Radio

Many Canadians are really not familiar with the traditional music of this nation but the members of Northern Cree have been drumming for round dances and pow wows since 1982!  According to their webpage, “the group originates from the Saddle Lake Cree Nation but is made up of members from the Treaty 6 area, most notably the Frog Lake Cree Nation, Onion Lake Cree Nation, Samson Cree Nation, Louis Bull Cree Nation, and the Poundmaker Cree Nation.”  All of the members have full-time jobs and other activities that keep them busy, like raising their families but the group is frequently present at round dances in the winter, pow wows in the summer, and award shows when they are nominated.  Tonight, they will be opening for the Grammy Awards, after being nominated for an award for the 7th time!  Take some time to listen to some of their contemporary and traditional music, as well as the CBC interview with Steve Wood (very slow and clear English).

Northern Cree’s Steve Wood discusses his group’s Grammy nomination and their upcoming performance at the ceremony’s pre-show.

Source: Northern Cree prepare for their return to the Grammy Awards – Home | q | CBC Radio


One of the things that can be complicated in English is using “any/some/no and every”, both as part of compound words like everywhere or nobody, as well as on their own.  Take some time to watch a couple music videos to listen for the words, and take a good look at the grammar that is used.  Unfortunately, the video for “Everybody” that shows the band singing is very poor quality, so it’s easier to just listen to the song and pay attention to the words.  “Somebody to Love” was a hit by the super-group “Queen”.  Their songs were written by the lead singer, Freddie Mercury and guitarist Brian May.  Freddie Mercury died in 1991, so their songs are not new, but they’re still very popular.



Doesn’t _______________ know how to walk ____________?
Doesn’t _______________  know what a radio is for?
Doesn’t _______________  wear their hair down low?
Doesn’t _______________  know? Doesn’t _______________  know?

Doesn’t _______________  hate it when the streetlight turns red?
Doesn’t _______________  want five more minutes in bed?
Doesn’t _______________, doesn’t _______________  have a letter to send?
Doesn’t _______________  wish they had just one more friend?

‘Cause _______________  wants, and _______________  needs
_______________  asks for one more piece
_______________  wants to hear someone say please
‘Cause _______________  takes, and everybody steals
_______________ cries when _______________  feels
_______________  is looking for the drug that heals

Doesn’t _______________  wanna take another shot at me?
Go ahead the gun is loaded and the bullets are for free
Doesn’t _______________  spray perfume to cover up a smell?
Doesn’t _______________  know where to go to get some help?

‘Cause _______________  wants, and _______________  needs
_______________  begs for self esteem
Why don’t you get your mind out of the past?
And _______________  takes and everybody steals
_______________ ‘s been kicked by other heels

Please raise your hands up in the air

Oh in the air yeah
Why don’t you raise your, raise your, raise your hands in the air?
Why don’t you raise your hands up in the air?

‘Cause _______________  wants

Doesn’t _______________  know how to walk _______________?
Doesn’t _______________  know what a radio is for?
Doesn’t _______________  wear their hair down low?
Doesn’t _______________  know? Doesn’t anybody know?

‘Cause _______________  wants


Somebody to Love



Can _______________  find me _______________  to love?

Ooh, each morning I get up I die a little
Can barely stand on my feet
(Take a look at yourself) Take a look in the mirror and cry (and cry)
Lord what you’re doing to me (yeah yeah)
I have spent all my years in believing you
But I just can’t get no relief, Lord!
_______________  (_______________) ooh _______________  (_______________)
Can _______________  find me _______________  to love?

I work hard (he works hard) every day of my life
I work till I ache in my bones
At the end (at the end of the day)
I take home my hard earned pay all on my own
I get down (down) on my knees (knees)
And I start to pray
Till the tears run down from my eyes
Lord somebody (_______________), ooh _______________
(Please) can _______________  find me somebody to love?

_______________  (_______________)…

Thursday night in the big city (Edmonton)

Early in September, I started teaching an evening LINC class, 3 nights/week.  LINC stands for Language Instruction for Newcomers to Canada.  The students in this program are immigrants to Canada. The classes are quite interesting because they students choose the topics that they really want and need to study, and the teacher chooses material that will help them understand that subject better.  Students taking LINC4 often have a goal of becoming a Canadian citizen, since that’s the required proficiency level.  So, we’re working on a lot of information about Canada and the government (3 levels).  I’m really fond of taking field trips since they offer so many chances to practice vocabulary, grammar, and phrases that students have learned in class.  I’m also really fond of the Alberta Gallery of Art (AGA) as a beautiful and interesting place to visit.  On the last Thursday evening of every month, admission to the art gallery is free.  So, we started to plan a trip to the art gallery.

The art gallery is located downtown and our class is located in Northeast Edmonton, so we planned to meet at the Art Gallery, instead of the school.  We spent time looking at information and watching videos about how to take the LRT (train) to Churchill Square, as well as how to park using the EPark machines downtown.  It’s not that easy to figure out, so we spent a couple of classes making instructions for meeting at Churchill Square.  Luckily, it worked and almost everyone from the class joined us in the lobby of the art gallery.  We found out that night that “event parking” prices were in effect, as they will be every time there’s an event at Edmonton’s new downtown arena.  Unfortunately, that information wasn’t available on the City of Edmonton website.  My parking at City Hall cost $14!!  That’s a bad surprise.

However, everyone made it, and nobody got a parking ticket or a $250 ticket for taking the LRT without a validated ticket!  We explored the art gallery for over an hour, and there were many interesting things to see there.  On the main floor, the touch gallery was a really interesting image of life under the sea.  Everything was made with ordinary household objects and it was okay to touch everything (gently)!  On the top floor, there is always an exhibit of modern art, and this father and son exhibit was extremely colourful and interesting.  We had fun looking for gnomes, which were included in many of the paintings and sculptures.

On the second level, there was a small, modern exhibit which was just really “interesting”!  There’s not really any other way to explain it.  Next door, the large gallery was really amazing!  the walls were painted with deep, jewel colours.  The paintings were all from the Victorian era: later 1800s and early 1900s.  There were many gorgeous pictures to see in this area.

After the art gallery, it was time for a break, and some students picked up food at one of the food trucks.  We met again in the Stanley Milner Library, on the other side of Churchill Square.  There is a lot to see in the library, but many of the books are beginning to be moved to a temporary location at Enterprise Square (above Bay Station on the LRT).  We spent time exploring the children’s library, where the librarian was SO friendly and helpful!  She shared a checkers set and students took turns challenging each other.  She helped another student learn how to borrow and return a book.

After the library, we went back across Churchill Square, where there was a rap and hiphop concert taking place.  We enjoyed practicing our dance moves, while the DJ spun a few records.  The square also has a ping pong (table tennis) table, a giant chess set, and a basketball hoop that visitors can use.  The pools at City Hall are closed for swimming and wading now, but soon, they’ll be used for outdoor skating.

Finally, we took a quick look around City Hall, which is still open to the public in the evenings.  It’s a beautiful building, with lots of public art.  We stopped by to say “Hi!” to Mayor Don Iveson, but his office was locked for the day.  Time for a few photos and then it was time to return to our homes, by train or by car.  It was a fun adventure!


WOW!!!!! Most amazing video yet, by OK Go, filmed by drone

I’ve been really impressed with the music videos that OK Go makes, since their early video on the treadmills.  They have an amazing sense of timing and visual imagery.  This video is like nothing that you’ve ever seen.  It appears to have been filmed in Japan, but I’m not too sure.  Probably somebody who watches will recognize the environment a bit better than me.  Please leave a comment, with your reaction to the video!

Round Dance season begins again

Some information that I previously shared about round dances is below.  If you want to participate in a very unique Canadian cultural activity, there are many round dances that are held during the winter season.  Some are fairly private dances, held to honour the anniversary of a loved one’s death, and many are held by community organizations, and they are open to the public.

A round dance is very different from a pow wow, although the drumming and singing may sound similar.  Many communities and families host round dances during the winter season. Most of the people who attend will participate in the dancing, which is usually in a circle, around the drummers.  Often, the dancing doesn’t start until pretty late in the evening, and people will stay well into the night.  There is no cost to attend, and alcohol and drug use is always prohibited.

This article gives more information about the reasons for a round dance:

This website also has a few photos and videos to give you a better idea.


Where are people happier?

I like to compare different versions of the same song or video. Here are 3 communities in very different parts of the world that have made videos, using Pharrell Williams’s song, “Happy”. As you might expect, the song is very happy. Watch the videos to compare different things that you see in both. Use comparative adjectives to describe the differences.

Where do you think that you would feel happy?

Students’ Favourite Music and movies


Unit 2 in Intermediate A is about going out, and we learn about genres (types/kinds) of music and movies.  Music is very important to many people, and it can be a good way to help to learn a new language (see


The genres of music that I like are: jazz, rock, pop music, blues, and classical music. In my opinion, music is very interesting because it can transform feelings and it doesn’t matter the language or the country; the most important thing is listening and feeling. When I am listening to music, my mind is in another space and I am relaxing. In my home I always listen to my favorite music.

In order to learn to English I am listening to music by The Beatles because in my opinion their style is better for learning.

My favorite movies are comedy, action, fiction and musical. The names of the movies are “My Best Friend’s Wedding”, “Rent” and “Avatar”.


I love to listen to music. The kind of music that’s my favorite is classical music.  My country’s classical music is very nice. The times when I listen to music are at breakfast time, at lunchtime, and at rest times. In my country, in coffee houses and hotels you can always listen to classical music. In my life, music is very important. And in my other free time, I watch TV with my daughters.


My name is I. I like to listen to pop music. I like to listen at night but not all of the time. Music is not important in my life. I like to watch movies because I think it’s good for my language. But sometimes in my free time, I watch the news because every day there is new news from my country. I like news. I love Arabic music, and that’s all I listen to with my friends. I watch history moves because I like history and at the same time, I can study this subject. I do not like action movies because there are many liars in these movies. But history movies are true. Media is very important in life because with media we can learn many things we cannot live without.


Music is very in important in life.  A lot of people listen to music but it’s different between one person and another. I love music but not all the time. l prefer to listen to music in the morning, but not just any music. I listen to classical music. In my country, music is not important. We played music at parties or some other time. I listen to music in the car with my friends. I have some songs that are nice for me because they remind me of when I was a child. In the past, I listened to music on cassettes, but now I listen to the Internet.  It’s easy and you can find any music you need. I always like classical music.


My favorite kinds of music are rock, pop, and some rap. I sometimes listen to rap music like Eminem. My favorite pop singer is Katy Perry. I listen to this music when I want to relax and when I want to sleep. I listen to rock music every day. I listen to it because it gives me some power to do activities. Music is my best friend. I listen to it when I do some things, when I travel, and when I’m feeling bored and I want to have fun. But I have a problem with listening to music when I can’t understand what are they talking about, and when they use a lot of idioms. I love to listen to English music because it helps to learn English. I prefer music with lyrics for the pronunciation and for knowing what they are talking about and to see how words are spelled.

For movies I like to watch action movies because there is a lot of action. I like to watch reality programs like Man Tracker. I love these kinds of movies because they use basic and short conversation. I sometimes prefer comedy movies. I watch these movies when I want to have fun.


I love to listen to music, and my favourite music is pop and Banda. Banda is Mexican music; it’s very nice and enjoyable.  Banda is very popular at parties because this music is good for dancing, but do you need a partner.

I like to watch movies with my friends or with my brother in my free time.  I prefer to see romantic, and comedy movies. My favourite movie is “A Walk to Remember” this movie is beautiful and very sad because it’s about a young couple, he is very popular and respected, but she is very good and friendly, she likes to help others. They are in love, but the problem is, she has cancer, and she died a few months after they were married.

In my house there are a lot of movies because my dad buys and buys movies. He is shopaholic of movies, because there is always a new movie to watch.


I listen to music at home. I am into all kinds of music: pop, banda, rock, salsa, etc.  I enjoy music. Music relaxes me and makes me happy. I enjoy watching videos of many singers on YouTube and some videos are funny.

My favorite genre is pop. I like live concerts. In my country I enjoyed many concerts, but here I don’t have time and it’s very expensive.

I listen to music on my cellphone. I download the music from the Internet.

I like many singers for example, Ricardo Arjona, Ricky Martin, Luis Miguel, Adele, and Madonna.

I don’t like electronic music and protest music.


I like all genres of music but I prefer pop, blues, rock and classical. I love live concerts. I always like listening to music when I work, drive, and study. At home I like to dance and sing to my favorite music. I don’t buy CDs now; I just buy songs on the Internet. When I was studying at university I attended and enjoyed some live concerts for example: Madonna, U2, Metallica, Gun & Roses, Michael Jackson, Marilyn Manson, Depeche Mode, UB40, etc.  I think that everybody enjoys music. Some like to listen during many activities, for example: working, studying, driving, sleeping, walking, running, eating, and taking a shower. At this moment, you can get music on the Internet very easily, quickly, cheaply and also for free. It’s incredible how music changes people’s feelings. I‘d like to know how to write songs.


My favorite music is classical music and slow music because music is life. I like classical music I listen in my home sometimes I visit my friends we listen to music on mp3 and CD players. My favorite artist is Bereket Mengestab. Bereket is a well-known artist in Eritrea. I love Bereket’s songs. I listen to music in my home and my friends’ homes. I bought music CDs in my country in music shops. Sometimes I duplicated (copied) them at home, because the price is expensive in the shop. I owned over 100 CDs of cultural and classical music.

A video with a crazy invention

The British band, OKGo has crazy videos. I don’t recommend this video for a listening exercise, because the lyrics are hard to understand, but it’s a fun video to watch and describe.

In Top Notch 3, we study about a Rube Goldberg Machine in unit 8, and this video is a perfect example of a Rube Goldberg Machine!