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Mali Obomsawin is the mighty bassist/songwriter/singer from Lula Wiles, whose musical talents run tandem to her activist spirit. She really had no choice in the matter, seeing that her parents met through their advocacy for Abenaki and First Nations sovereignty battles. Mali’s dad is a member of the Odanak Abenaki Nation and her mom at the time they met, was following and supporting tribal land claim initiatives. Along with Lula Wiles, her solo career (which is a bit of a new venture for Mali) and her sideplayer gigs, Mali works with several racial and environmental justice organizations based in Wabanaki homelands, and is the founder and executive director of Bomazeen Land Trust. She is a crucial voice when it comes to speaking out for First Nation representation and justice in the roots music world and beyond. She is generous with her knowledge, but also as her Twitter profile reads: “pay me for educating you.” Which you can do! She has her PayPal linked right there.
Mali grew up in rural Maine among five siblings and was constantly surrounded by music in her family. Her dad is a musician and Mali was always the performer as a little kid, constantly trying to make people happy and laugh while being a goofball. She was also made aware of the cruel stereotypes and racism in the world at an early age through mainstream culture. As she became older, she gravitated towards the upright bass and talks in the pod about her jazz sensibilities and what drew her to the instrument. She talks about how she came to songwriting last, but has managed to successfully combine a very rad sweepy dream-like style while “punctur[ing] the dream-haze of our apocalyptic capitalist world.” On the new Lula Wiles album, Shame and Sedition, Mali’s songs really shine through with highlights being “Everybody, (Connected)” “Do You Really Want The World to End” and “In Dreams.” I look forward to more conversations with Mali, hopefully about a solo record… No pressure, Mali 🙂Support Get Up in the Cool