Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Native North America Gathering x CBC broadcast

The Native North America Gathering in Toronto this past August (the third there thus far and the largest to date) was an event that I will never forget and for many reasons. The most important was the selfless generosity of the trailblazing artists who travelled from communities near and far (the furthest being John Angaiak, who flew in all the way from Alaska), along w/ MC/host Brian Wright-McLeod (Encyclopedia of Native Music) to celebrate the here and now. I'd also like to shout out David McLeod (NCI) from Winnipeg who helped to bring Ernest Monias over to the Big Smoke from Cross Lake, MB, Steven Lambke who provided the necessary spark from Sackville, NB, and Matt Sullivan, co-owner and founder of Light in the Attic Records. Rich Taylor (Gladeye) secured Trinity-St. Paul's, set up the ticket sales, coordinated a catered meal before hand w/ NishDish, organized the live sound, rustled merch table workers and door people, and managed the stage. Jarrett Martineau of RPM Records helped raise awareness via his various channels and offered a speech to set up the CBC broadcast recording. Rhek designed the amazing poster while Jenna Rogers helped to get the t-shirts for the artists made. Troublelight films were on hand to document the proceedings. A BIG thanks to everyone (and I mean, everyone) involved!

For me, this grassroots gathering was a great learning experience. I was humbled to see so many supportive faces in the audience, friends, family, and people that I hold dear, and to meet some of the artists like Ernest, Lawrence Martin, and Leland Bell for the first time (and for the artists to reconnect or meet each other as well). To hear those assembled respond with standing ovations after each set warmed my heart as I scurried around the venue, knowing that these important voices, like that of Lloyd and Vern Cheechoo, were being heard loud and clear. After the concert ended, I received an embrace by the family of the late, great, Willie Dunn whom we had paid tribute to earlier in the evening (along w/ Morley Loon and those who could not be w/ us) with a screening of his crucial The Ballad of Crowfoot, a NFB production from 1968. "You did a good job," they said, and I was humbled yet again. Afterwards, we took it to the streets and the music of Willy Mitchell, Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback, Leland Bell, and Eric Landry played on well into the night...

After the dust had settled, I delivered a large silk-screened poster to Duke Redbird on the subway, his face still gazing out from every nook and cranny of the city, alongside Jarrett Martineau, on the cover of NOW. After one more "Bye for now,"  I took a nostalgic walk down Yonge Street from Bloor and thought of how to reconcile my dreams and realities against the continual oppression of the corporatized music and marketing machine (I left those parts of the story out ; ). Answer? You don't. You simply play it how you see/hear and feel it, and to the great energy who truly knows, it shows. And that's all that matters! PEACE

For those who were there and to those unable to attend, CBC's Canada Live program is broadcasting portions of the August 8, 2017, Native North America Gathering this Friday, January 26th, at 2 pm on CBC Radio 1 and on Monday, January 29th at 7 pm on CBC Radio 2/CBC Music.

*The NNA Gathering Guardian review by Rebecca Bengal can be read here...

**The next Native North America Gathering is on February 9th as part of the MEGAPHONO festival in Ottawa. Link here...

No comments:

Post a Comment