Indigenous Music Artist Vince Fontaine Dies


Canadian musician Vince Fontaine died Tuesday, his niece Nahanni Fontaine announced via social media.

“Vince's love of music was only outshone by his measureless devotion to his family, friends and community — we, who remain stunned and devastated by this great and unexpected loss,” she tweeted.

A cause of death was not disclosed.

"Vince was a great guy and an important figure in Canadian and Indigenous music scene," tweeted Michael Hollett, publisher of NEXT and founder of NXNE. Winnipeg band WHY remembered Fontaine as "a passionate musician and songwriter," tweeting: "He always had time for other musicians and his talent and kindness will be greatly missed."

Fontaine, a member of Sagkeeng First Nation, founded Indigenous music duo Eagle & Hawk in 1994 with Troy Westwood. Their 2002 album On and On was named Indigenous Album of the Year at the JUNO Awards.

“Could never express how much you meant to me brother,” Westwood tweeted. “So many precious memories. You taught me a great deal brother. Thank you brother. Much sympathy to his beautiful family.”

Fontaine was also a composer and released the acclaimed 2011 solo album, Songs for Turtle Island. He founded folk-rock band Indian City.

"Had the privilege of sharing the stage and the ice with him many times," tweeted Devin Cuddy, referring to Fontaine's involvement in the JUNO Cup. "A great musician, beautiful soul and a solid line-mate. Rest easy buddy, you will be missed."

On the Rising Sun Productions website, Fontaine is quoted as saying: "My purpose is to lift up Indigenous people of North America and show the beauty, existence, splendour and mystique of our culture. I want to be a musical beacon and cultural ambassador."