Errol Ranville is an influential figure within Canada’s Aboriginal community. Primarily known for his musical success as the legendary country rock singer/songwriter C-Weed, Errol is one of the first Canadian Aboriginal musicians to establish international recognition through steady touring and promotion.
At the time he was a trailblazer, carving a new path for Aboriginal music while bringing other young Aboriginal artists to the mainstream. The move was that of a visionary — and Errol remains a passionate advocate for the Aboriginal music community of Canada.
At a very young age, Errol, nicknamed C-Weed, devoted his life to music. He and his brothers were self-taught musicians who participated in local shows in his hometown of Eddystone, Manitoba. In their early days, like many up and coming bands, the band paid their dues in the bar scene, playing long hours for little pay.
Everything changed when his cover of “Evangeline” hit #1 on the Canadian Country Music Chart (RPM magazine) back in 1980. This success would send The C-Weed Band on tour across Canada and The United States. It was a defining moment in Errol’s career as he seized the opportunity to introduce himself to the music world and gained national recognition. Their next single “High and Dry” was also a success, hitting the #1 spot the following year. The band spent endless days on the road touring from coast to coast to coast.
In 1997, the C-Weed Band entertained audiences in Switzerland, Austria, and Germany on a European tour. They returned to Europe in 1999 through promoter Jerg Shäffer from Buchs, Switzerland, and performed 19 shows. They had the privilege of being the first foreigners to set foot in Nanning, China in 2004, representing Canada for one of Nanning’s first projects in global tourism.
When Errol is not sporting his cowboy hat onstage, he works on developing programs for supporting and showcasing Canada’s Aboriginal music talent. From 1992-2001, Errol opened several nightclubs named “C-Weed’s Cabaret” in Winnipeg, Edmonton, Saskatoon and Thunder Bay. The cabarets showcased aboriginal musicians, and those performances proved to be a successful investment. From there, he moved on to helping the Aboriginal music industry in other ways.
In 2004, thanks to the support of Eric Robinson (Minister of Culture, Heritage, Tourism & Sport, MB), Errol worked for the Manitoba Audio Recording Industry Association (MARIA), currently named Manitoba Music, and created the Aboriginal Music Program (AMP). He registered many Aboriginal artists — whose presence beforehand had been largely unrecognized — and brought to their disposal the many resources that Manitoba Music had to offer.
In 2005/06 he served as the Executive Producer of the newly created Manito Ahbee Festival — a five-day event that celebrates the arts and includes the popular Aboriginal Peoples Music Choice Awards (APCMA’s). Most recently, in 2010/11, Errol created the Manitoba Star Attractions Talent Showcase (MSATS) which showcases raw Manitoba talent and supports young musicians by giving them the opportunity to perform and record their own song.
Errol continues to explore his Aboriginal culture and heritage through music. His song “Run as One” incorporates Aboriginal drumming and chanting and symbolizes for many the vision of a new era, a new outlook, and a strong, unified nation. Naturally, this spirited song that is considered an “Aboriginal Anthem” soared to #1 on the National Aboriginal Top 40 Countdown when it was released in 2000.
On October 8th, 2010 Errol was involved in a serious car accident. While he struggled through the emotional trauma and loss associated with the accident, he found a renewed sense of hope in music and focussed even more on mentoring young singer/songwriter Ali Fontaine.
In April 2012 Errol was back in the saddle, coming out with a new CD of 12 original songs titled “Forever”. Today, he tours a show that incorporates C-Weed classics with the new material. Behind him is a stacked new six-piece C-Weed Band that includes original core members Don Ranville (drums), and Clint Dutiaume (lead guitar and fiddle), while the musical talents of Marc Arnould (piano), John Ervin (bass), and Ashley Klassen (backing vocals) add some zest.
He’s already been recognized with two Lifetime Achievement Awards, and yet Errol shows no signs of slowing down. He’s a consummate professional, an old-school touring player, an advocate for Aboriginal people’s talents. He is the legendary C-Weed.