Sharing our pride while respecting our differences.”

-—Florent Vollant

Florent Vollant

2020 Lifetime Artistic Achievement Award (Popular Music)

Singer-songwriter and guitarist

Innu singer–songwriter and guitarist Florent Vollant has been active on Quebec’s music scene for four decades, first as part of the award-winning duo Kashtin and more recently as a solo artist. A proud cultural ambassador and respected mentor, he has recorded six albums, founded a recording studio for Indigenous musicians, and created a songwriting circle for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. His songs of hope, diversity and inclusion, coupled with his passionate defence of our natural world, have earned him international recognition.
 
Mr. Vollant was born in Labrador in 1959 and grew up on the Maliotenam reserve near Sept-Îles. He launched his career in the 1980s as a co-founder of the Innu Nikamu festival, a gathering of First Nations musicians and singers. He and fellow Innu musician Claude McKenzie formed the folk-rock duo Kashtin (“tornado” in Innu-Aimun), the first Indigenous group from Quebec to be recognized internationally. From 1989 to 1995, they recorded three albums, won a Juno and four Félix awards, and toured across North America, France, Belgium, South Korea and Bolivia.
 
He has collaborated with such prominent artists as Richard Séguin, Robbie Robertson, Luce Dufault and Zachary Richard, and hosted the APTN variety shows “Makusham” and “La Clé du studio”.
 
In his Maliotenam community, he established the Studio Makusham, a recording space and creative centre for artists in disciplines ranging from traditional song and dance to instrumental music and film soundtracks. He is the initiator (2017) and mentor of Nikamu Mamuitun, an annual songwriting residency for Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth. A passionate advocate for the preservation of Quebec’s waterways, he is a member of the Fondation Rivières and was named the 1994 Artist for Peace.
 
In 2018, he toured Nunavik and Quebec’s Far North with the Montreal Symphony Orchestra as the Innu narrator of the opera Chaakapesh: The Trickster’s Quest, introducing Innu, Cree and Inuit communities to traditional Western symphonic music in their own settings.
 
Florent Vollant is a Knight of the Ordre national du Québec and a Companion of the Ordre des arts et des lettres du Québec. He was also awarded the Quebec Lieutenant Governor’s Gold Medal for Exceptional Merit and the inaugural Félix Award for Indigenous Artist of the Year.