TAMARA CESHIA PODEMSKI
is a multi-disciplinary artist born and raised in Toronto. She calls upon her Anishnaabe roots to inspire her art, creating a fusion of spirituality, politics, and self-empowerment. She is a graduate of the Claude Watson School for the Performing Arts in Toronto, where she studied theatre, dance and music throughout its 10-year program.
Tamara’s acting has spanned across all mediums with such credits as DANCE ME OUTSIDE, THE REZ, READY OR NOT, NORTH OF 60, MOOSE TV, NEW AMSTERDAM, RABBIT FALL, HEARTLAND, CRACKED numerous theatre productions, and, most notably, as a member of the Original Canadian Cast of RENT, as well as playing Maureen in the Broadway Company of RENT. She made her biggest mark in 2007 at the Sundance Film Festival when she received the Special Jury Prize for Acting her role in FOUR SHEETS TO THE WIND. The same role won her an Independent Spirit Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress, which she proudly lost to fellow nominee, Cate Blanchett. Tamara was also nominated for a Jessie Theatre Award for her performance in Marie Clements’ play THE EDWARD CURTIS PROJECT, which was part of the 2010 Cultural Olympiad in Vancouver. In 2012,Tamara returned to the big screen opposite Benjamin Bratt in Anita Doron’s THE LESSER BLESSED, which premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. In 2014, Tamara joined the cast of AN ENEMY OF PEOPLE under the direction of Richard Rose at Tarragon Theatre and, after a critically acclaimed run to sold out houses, the show was remounted in 2015 due to popular demand.
In the world of music, Tamara’s voice can be heard as the lead singer of the Los Angeles band SPIRIT NATION, whose album WINTER MOONS was nominated for a 2001 Aboriginal Music Award, on the solo album SPIRIT VOICES which she released under the pseudonym “Ceshia Anaquod,” and on her latest self-titled, 4-time nominated album, TAMARA, which she released under her own record label, MUKWA MUSIC. Tamara’s music video, MEEGWETCH, won Best Music Video at the American Indian Film Festival in San Francisco and at imagiNATIVE Film Festival in Toronto. Her last album, TAMARA won her a 2006 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Female Artist.
As a songwriter, Tamara’s songs have been featured on the TV series THE REZ, THE SEVENTH GENERATION, MOCASSIN FLATS, RABBIT FALL and the feature documentary GREEN, GREEN WATER. She was also the lyricist for SPIRIT NATION, writing all 10 songs in Anishnabemowin, and was both co-composer and lyricist on SPIRIT VOICES, which she also wrote in the Anishnaabe language. She wrote and co-composed another 9 original songs for her latest album TAMARA, (this time in English), receiving a Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Best Songwriter in 2006. She regularly composes original songs for theatre productions, as well as for numerous songwriting workshops and music seminars across Indian Country.
Tamara’s dancing has taken her across Canada, the US, and Europe as a member of the Canadian Dance Tapestry of which she was a member for 5 years. She has also danced regularly in the nationally televised ABORIGINAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS since 1995. Other credits include CHINOOK WINDS at the Banff Centre for the Arts, the Iroquoian Contemporary Ballet KAHA:WI, ANGELS OF THE WORLD at the Harbourfront Centre, and the US Touring Company of SPIRIT – THE SEVENTH FIRE. For several years, Tamara has worked with Penny Couchie’s Aanmitaagzi Dance Theatre workshopping the contemporary dance story WHEN WILL WE RAGE.
As a choreographer she has created several pieces for the ABORIGINAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS, numerous theatre productions, and for Native Youth across Canada who participate in her and her sister’s Hip-Hop Dance Workshops. She has also taught dance classes locally, in Toronto, at fitness studios, as well as at her own dance studio, BODY ALIVE.
Tamara is also a Certified Personal Trainer, as well as a Certified Krav Maga Self-Defense and Fitness Instructor, having trained and taught for 4 years at the Worldwide Headquarters in Los Angeles. She is featured on the cover of the KRAV MAGA FOR WOMEN book published by Krav Maga Worldwide. Through fitness empowerment, she shares her passion and love for health and well-being.
As a community worker, Tamara has shared her knowledge and experience through hands-on workshops, keynote addresses and panel discussions. She speaks regularly about Indigenous issues to both Native and Non-Native audiences, and is a regular speaker within the Jewish community of Toronto.
Currently, Tamara is in the midst of writing and recording her fourth album, which she plans to release under her MUKWA MUSIC label. She has also undertaken the challenge of writing her first screenplay.
In 2017, Tamara hopes to complete her degree at the University of Toronto in Aboriginal Studies and Hebrew Literature.