A Norway House drummer will team up with Midnight Shine from Ontario to make the band an all-Cree ensemble once again for the upcoming touring season.
Charnelle Menow, a co-founding member of the all-female, all-Cree, Northern Manitoba band Drink Me Pretty, is joining Midnight Shine, made up of lead vocalist/guitarist Adrian Sutherland of Attawapiskat, bassist/vocalist Stan Louttit and guitarist/vocalist Zach Tomatuk, both of Moose Factory, Ont.
Formed when Sutherland was offered a chance to open for Trooper in Timmins, Midnight Shine was originally intended to be a temporary band but has been going strong for eight years, releasing three albums and five radio singles.
Menow’s first studio performance with Midnight Shine is a cover of The Tragically Hip’s “Bobcaygeon” released by CBC Music.
The daughter of musician Hector Menow, Charnelle Menow was born and raised in Norway House and works as a radio host for CJNC 97.9 and is following her dream of expanding her drumming and learning by heading out on tour with Midnight Shine, who chose her as their next drummer partly by chance.
Menow’s musical career started more than a decade ago when she formed Drink Me Pretty with guitarist Sharness Henry. The band performed at CKDM’s battle of the bands during Dauphin Countryfest last summer. Someone in the audience was livestreaming the performance on Drink Me Pretty’s Facebook page, which led to Midnight Shine catching her performance. They reached out to her about performing with them.
“I don’t normally play with people I don’t know,” said Menow in a press release, but after a few weeks she went to Northern Ontario to jam with Midnight Shine. “That first show felt really comfortable, and I felt like I’d known these guys my whole life. I’m really glad I took the chance on them, and they took the chance on me.”
Menow, who performed with the band for four shows in B.C. in 2018, is the eighth drummer to play with Midnight Shine since original drummer George Gilles from Fort Albany, Ont. left the band in 2017.
“She’s a really good drummer, one of the best any of us has ever played with, and also a terrific singer,” said Sutherland. “Plus, she’s a whole lot cooler than the rest of us, so she’ll certainly raise our coolness factor up a few notches, too.”