Viral Video: First Nations Piano Man Delights Internet

Viral Video: First Nations Piano Man Delights Internet

Posted By Toyacoyah Brown November 11th, 2014 Blog


A YouTube video of a man playing the piano has recently racked up close to 4 million views. His name is Ryan Arcand and he has unfortunately been living on the street for 30 years. In this video you see him playing the piano in Churchill Square, located in downtown Edmonton (Canada).

This isn't the first time he's been captured on video. Another YouTube video by Omer Shah exists of him playing back in September.

Aboriginal Peoples Television Network was able to track him down and let him tell a little bit more about his story.

He is a member of the Alexander First Nation but was raised off reserve in foster care with his younger brother, Blake.

It was in one of those foster homes where the boys eventually found solace through their mutual love of music.

Arcand first fell in love with the piano around age 8. He taught himself to play and wrote his first song, the one from the online video, when he was just 13.

His Aunt, Ruth Arcand, said she always knew the two brothers were talented and she’s happy that her nephew is finally being noticed.

“I want to tell him, ‘Come on, and wake up! This is your chance to get out of this,’” said Ruth. “He doesn’t have to live his life in the dark.”

Hopefully Arcand realizes that he has already touched many people with his music. He mentioned to APTN that he would like to record an album of his music. Maybe finding his brother Blake so the two of them can make music again. Hopefully this new found fame will be just the encouragement he needs to pursue that dream!

About Toyacoyah Brown

Toyacoyah Brown is an enrolled member of the Comanche Nation, currently living in Chicago. She received her B.A. in Journalism from the University of Oklahoma and an M.A. in Media Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. When she's not scouring the Internet for fun things to share with readers you can find her digging for vinyl in her local record store or curling up with a good book.


10 thoughts on “Viral Video: First Nations Piano Man Delights Internet

  1. Marshall Kenote says:

    This is what I have always said about my people , I to was on the streets in L.A. and found many people like this of all colors , talented in many ways , But never had a chance to show what they could , We from the streets ,mostly wanted jobs , But could never find a shower and place to call home , other then JAIL . That never helped us , it only made us fear walking the streets during the day knowing that some cop would slap you down and take what you had . Sorry , but this is true , I was there many years ago . TIK-KO .

  2. Where did he get the piano from? He must have some connection because pianos are not easy to drag around the streets of Edmonton.Fame is not everything. Many talented and famous people have ended their lives being on drugs. Life is not an easy road and getting off the streets is tough.

    • Bill Jackson says:

      They have pianos sitting on the streets at different locations in Edmonton!… A lot of other big cities are doing this as well… some of the people that sit down to play are totally amazing!! 🙂

    • Wow, racism at it’s finest. Can’t believe a native on the streets might have more talent than you. (Where did he get the piano, over)



  4. julie hodges says:

    Is there any way that this talented man can get a good gig somewhere beside the street? Edmonton is to be congratulated for having these pianos available!

  5. Bruce says:

    I believe Ryan is now in a shelter and has access to care and support. Apparently there is a piano in the lobby which he plays now and then. Perhaps some more posts of his work may help find his lost brother. A symbiosis of service, between music and shelter in the spirit of love, makes healing possible. Many people are saying prayers for Ryan and wishing him well.

  6. Gail Love-Taylor says:

    Many blessings to Ryan and may God bring the 2 brothers back together.
    I hope he is happy and knows that he’s is a blessing to all of us…

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Subscribe to our newsletter for latest updates