New Drummer: Charnelle Menow

January 18, 2019

Midnight Shine is pleased to announce that Charnelle Menow from Norway House Cree Nation will join the band for the upcoming touring season, once again making Midnight Shine an all-Cree band.

A kick-ass drummer and vocalist, Charnelle has been active in Northern Manitoba’s music scene for more than a decade. She started drumming at 17 with her all-Cree all-female rock band Drink Me Pretty, and plays drums for her musician father Hector Menow Jr. who is a huge supporter of her career and a beam of light of inspiration for her. Charnelle was born and raised in Norway House, and works as a radio host for local radio station CJNC 97.9 FM. She has a dream of expanding her drumming/learning and is following that dream – taking things one step closer by touring with Midnight Shine.


Last summer, Drink Me Pretty performed at CKDM’s Battle of the Bands at Dauphin’s Countryfest, where Midnight Shine’s manager was working, and happened to catch the set. Thanks to someone in the audience live-streaming to DMP’s Facebook page, members of Midnight Shine watched from thousands of miles away. They instantly knew they wanted to try a show with her – but it would take some coaxing to get Charnelle to try a show with them.

“I don’t normally play with people I don’t know,” says Menow, who thought about it for a few weeks before reluctantly agreeing to travel all the way to the James Bay to a place she didn’t know, to perform songs she’d never heard of, with three musicians she’d never met. But once they started jamming, she knew she was in the right place. “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.”

Charnelle played four shows with the Shine in 2018, including Vancouver’s SKOOKUM Festival, and The Port Theatre in Nanaimo. She replaces original drummer George Gillies from Fort Albany, Ontario, who left the band in 2017. Midnight Shine worked with seven different drummers before finally connecting with Charnelle, and they now feel fortunate to have her on the team. “She’s a really good drummer, one of the best any of us has ever played with, and also a terrific singer,” says frontman Adrian 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.”

Check out Charnelle’s first in-studio performance with Midnight Shine in CBC Music’s live-to-tape recording of The Tragically Hip’s Bobcaygeon. #CBCMusic #Junos365