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Poster for BAAM at The Gem Presents Mali Obomsawin Xtet
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BAAM at The Gem Presents Mali Obomsawin Xtet

Coming on October 1

Midnight weekend screenings happen on Friday & Saturday nights (meaning arrive on Friday and/or Saturday night by 11:45pm for seating, the movie starts after midnight)!

Run Time: 60 min.

Join BAAM at The Gem in welcoming the Mali Obomsawin Xtet to Bethel for the first time on Sunday, October 1st at 5:00 pm.

MALI OBOMSAWIN (they/she) is an award-winning bassist, songwriter, and composer from Abenaki First Nation at Odanak. With an expansive background in American roots, rock, and jazz, Obomsawin carries several music traditions. Mali’s debut album Sweet Tooth has received international acclaim since its release (Out of Your Head Records 2022), including rave reviews and “best of 2022” placement in The Guardian, JazzTimes, and NPR. A Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist, they spent the years 2014-2021 touring internationally with beloved folk-rock band Lula Wiles. An in-demand bassist in the folk and jazz circuits, Mali appears often as an accompanist with contemporaries like Jake Blount and Lizzie No, and has performed at premier festivals like Newport and Philly Folk Fest. She can also be found in galleries and creative music spaces with the likes of Peter Apfelbaum, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Bill Cole’s Untempered Ensemble. In addition to their artistic work, Obomsawin is a community organizer dedicated to land justice and tribal sovereignty.

Mali received the 2022 International Folk Music Association’s “Rising Tide Award,” which honors young artists who embody the values and ideals of the folk community through their creative work, community role, and public voice. They also received the New England Foundation of the Arts’ “New Work New England” award in 2022. Mali is a member of The Julia Keefe Indigenous Big Band and Indigenous Performance Productions’ Welcome To Indian Country. As a composer-arranger, they scored the upcoming film “We Are The Warriors,” collaborated with Red Sky Performance and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra, and Palaver Strings. Beyond the stage Mali is a community organizer and advocate for Indigenous rights, environmental justice and landback. She works as a writer and educator with the Wabanaki-led Sunlight Media Collective to document and promote stories at the intersection of environmental justice and Tribal sovereignty. Her journalism has been published recently in Smithsonian, National Performance Network, and the Boston Globe. In 2020, Mali co-founded Bomazeen Land Trust, the first ever Wabanaki land trust, where she currently serves as executive director.


About Sweet Tooth:

A suite for Indigenous resistance, the new album from Wabanaki bassist, composer, and songwriter Mali Obomsawin flies in the face of Western tropes that insist Indigenous cultures are monolithic, trapped in time. Instead, Obomsawin highlights centuries of clever adaptation and resistance that have fueled the art and culture of Wabanaki people. Written as a compositional suite, the album Sweet Tooth,  on Out of Your Head Records, blends Wabanaki stories and songs passed down in Obomsawin’s own family with tunes addressing contemporary Indigenous life, colonization, continuity, love, and rage. It’s at once intimately personal, featuring field recordings of relatives at Odanak First Nation, but also conveys a larger story of the Wabanaki people, stretching across the domain of their confederacy from Eastern Canada to Southern New England. In three movements, Obomsawin’s powerful compositions honor the Indigenous ability to shape great art from the harshest fires of colonialism. The compositions reveal threads that bind together blues, jazz, hymns, folk songs, and Native cultures, and foreground the breadth and continuity of Indigenous contributions to these genres. “​​Telling Indigenous stories through the language of jazz is not a new phenomenon,” Obomsawin explains. “My people have had to innovate endlessly to get our stories heard – learning to express ourselves in French, English, Abenaki… but sometimes words fail us, and we must use sound. Sweet Tooth is a testament to this.” Sweet Tooth is a celebration of Indigenous innovation and an ingeniously envisioned debut for this composer-bandleader.

Sweet Tooth is performed by Mali Obomsawin 6tet, which features Taylor Ho Bynum on cornet, Noah Campbell on soprano and tenor saxophones, Allison Burik on bass clarinet and alto saxophone, Miriam Elhajli on guitar and vocals, Savannah Harris on drums, and Obomsawin on upright bass and vocals.


Find more information about Mali below:


IG: @maliobomsawin

Twitter: @featherbitchxx 

Facebook: Mali Obomsawin Music 

Youtube: Mali Obomsawin



Photo credit: Jared and Abby Lank


Doors at 4:30 pm

Show at 5:00 pm

Tickets are “Pay What You Can” benefiting BAAM.


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