Come on out to this fundraiser at Gallery 101 in Ottawa. I’ll be performing a special collaboration with the multi-talented Arthur Renwick and artist Annie Dunning’s installation Sapsucker Sounds.
Closing out this year’s X Avant festival, Lido Pimienta turned her headlining set inside-out, giving stage time over to friends and collaborators who performed in various combinations. Anishinaabe violist Melody McKiver, for example, would show up during the set-capping all-in throwdown, but also played their own material, including a solo piece as well as a collaboration with clarinetist Robert Drisdelle. They led off with this, joined by Mas Aya’s Brandon Valdivia as he wound up a mini solo set of his own.
It was a great evening at the Music Gallery, and keep an eye out in 2015 for Lido Pimienta‘s next album La Papessa, on which I have a guest feature.
I had the great pleasure of working with Inuk filmmaker Mosha Folger on the score of his latest stop-motion film, based on the print “Avingaluk (The Big Lemming)” by his grandfather Pudlo Pudlat. I wrote and recorded the first draft of this score while in residency at Debajehmujig during April 2014. I re-recorded the final score at Knox United Church in Edwards, Ontario in August 2014. The film premiered this past fall at imagineNATIVE in Toronto.
The score was written for viola in four parts, and was written, recorded, and performed by myself.
NOW Toronto published a Q&A with the music programming collective I work with, Bold As Love. Click through to read the full article.
Rosina Kazi, Jamaias DaCosta, Elwood Jimmy, Cherish Blood, Cris Derksen and Melody McKiver are Bold As Love, the arts collective of poets, musicians, actors and activists committed to community-building and -bridging by bringing people of colour (PoC) and Indigenous artists onstage in multiple disciplines. Saturday (November 15) marks the second in their series of six presentations – this one celebrating the 16th birthday of Kazi’s social-justice-motivated underground electronic band, Lal (with Nicholas “Murr” Murray and Ian De Souza), joined by Montreal spoken word musician Moe Clark.
Bold As Love’s MO is bringing together PoC and Indigenous artists. Why is that important to you?
Jamaias Da Costa, poet/journalist: We share a similar experience of being under-represented in the mainstream. Whether at festivals, concert series or other events, PoC and indigenous artists are often tokenized. We want to forge conversations between indigenous artists and other artists of colour – as well as our audiences. Everyone is welcome, of course, but there are specific experiences that indigenous and PoC artists can speak to.
Via The Music Gallery:
Melody McKiver will soon become a familiar name to Music Gallery audiences. The Anishinaabe musician, researcher, and media artist will be a panelist taking part in the Ethnocultural Baggage and Contemporary Classical Music discussion, perform with Lido Pimienta in the X Avant finale and curate our first Emergents of the year on December 4 (featuring Cory Latkovich’s Clarinet Panic Deluxx and Cree cellist and Tanya Tagaq collaborator Cris Derksen).
She’s just curated an excellent mixtape surveying Tagaq’s catalog and collaborators. Check it out at RPM.fm
Here goes… this has been a fantastic year for music. Some years I feel like I’m stretching out the list to hit ten, but I’ve been constantly revising. I put together a 43 minute mix of some of the stuff on this list if anyone’s interested: http://www.melodymckiver.com/
EDIT: Full track list:
Elvis Costello and The Roots – Cinco Minutos Con Vos;Dawn of Midi – Algol;Colin Stetson – Brute;Biipiigwan – Descamisados;Cakes Da Killa – Fuck Ya Boyfriend;A Tribe Called Red – Tanto’s Revenge feat. Chippewa Travellers; Trombone Shorty – Vieux Carre;Frank Waln – Oil 4 Blood (All Red Everything);Shining Soul – Do;Tara Williamson – Boy;Tall Paul – April Fools;Old Money – Black Pepper;MIA – Bring The Noize;T-Rhyme – From Scratch;Le1f – Damn Son
1. A Tribe Called Red – Nation II Nation
Tara just released this at the end of November, so I’ve only had a few weeks to let it sink in but it’s been on repeat. A well-overdue debut from Tara, she’s a smart singer-songwriter-pianist out of Nogojiwanong/Peterborough worth watching out for. Operatic pipes meeting a jazz sensibility with some cabaret sass, and she’s got a killer group of some of Peterborough’s finest musicians backing her up.Honorable mentions: Leanne Simpson’s Islands of Decolonial Love, Kristi Lane Sinclair’s The Sea Alone, Shining Soul’s Sonic Smash, Old Money’s Fire In The Dark, Chris Dave and the Drumheadz, Northern Voice – Dance of the Moon, Cakes Da Killa – The Eulogy, Le1f’s Fly Zone and Tree House, Beaatz, Impossible Nothing, Kinnie Starr, and K-Otic One’s Idle No More mixtape. I haven’t even checked out the latest releases from Gorguts and Four Tet. (ok, and I’m listening to Kanye and Drake a lot as well. I know, I know.)
In conjunction with her forthcoming collection of short stories, Islands of Decolonial Love, my friend Leanne Simpson teamed up with musicians to record some of her writing as spoken word/musical performances.
I wrote and performed the music to “Identity Impaired”, and the album also features music from Nick Ferrio, Tara Williamson, Sarah Decarlo, A Tribe Called Red, Sean Conway, and Cris Derksen.
Download or stream for free here.
I spoke with Alan Neal from CBC Radio One Ottawa’s All In A Day about the Honour the Apology rally I helped to organize in Ottawa. We spoke about the importance of the federal government’s full co-operation with the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and my own experience with residential schools archival research. You can hear the interview here.
CBC News also covered the story:
I’m thrilled to be participating in the Conversation on Contemporary Indigenous Art held in conjunction with the Carleton University Art Gallery‘s opening of Rebecca Belmore‘s solo show What Is Said and What Is Done and The Past Is Present, and the National Gallery of Canada’s Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art. I will be in conversation with Rebecca Belmore, Ursula Johnson, and moderator Heather Anderson.
Taken from CUAG:
Conversation on Contemporary Indigenous Art
Tuesday, 25 June 2013, 7:00 p.m.
Heather Anderson will moderate a conversation with Rebecca Belmore (Winnipeg), Ursula Johnson (Cape Breton), and Melody McKiver (Ottawa), in conjunction with Rebecca Belmore | What Is Said and What Is Done. Belmore is renowned for powerful works in performance, sculpture, photography, and video that through spare and exacting means examine sites of historical and contemporary trauma and injustices, in particular those resulting from history of contact between European settler and Indigenous populations.
In recognition of Belmore’s path-breaking work, and on the occasion of the National Gallery of Canada’s landmark Sakahàn: International Indigenous Art, we’re broadening the conversation, inviting two rising Indigenous rising artists to join Belmore in conversation. Ursula Johnson, a Mi’kmaw artist currently residing on the Eskasoni Reserve in Cape Breton, creates performances and sculptures that frequently incorporate and transform the traditional basket weaving she learned from her great grandmother, artist Caroline Gould. Ottawa-based Anishinaabe Melody McKiver is a musician and media artist. The conversation will take each artist’s practice as a point of departure and reflect upon what it means to be a contemporary Indigenous artist today.
Rebecca Belmore was born in Upsala, Ontario, and lives in Winnipeg. She represented Canada at the 51st Venice Biennale in 2005, the first Indigenous woman to do so. The Anishinaabe artist’s work has been included in important exhibitions including Close Encounters (2011), Global Feminisms (2007), the Biennale of Sydney (2006), Land, Spirit, Power (1992), and the IV Havana Biennial (1991). The Vancouver Art Gallery mounted a major survey Rebecca Belmore: Rising to the Occasion in 2008. She is the recipient of numerous awards including the 2009 Hnatyshyn Award and a 2013 Governor General’s Award in Visual and Media Arts.
Ursula Johnson has a BFA (2006) from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, where she studied photography, drawing, and textiles. Johnson descends from a long line of Mi’kmaw Artists, including her late great grandmother, Caroline Gould, from whom she learned basket making. In 2010 she curated Klokowej: A 30-Year Retrospective commemorating Gould’s contribution to the evolution of Mi’kmaw basketry. Several of her performances, including Elmiet(2010), Basket Weaving (2011), and L’nuwelti (We Are Indian) (2012), incorporate basketry as a key element, and draw on her studies in theatre. Recent exhibitions include Basket Weaving, Planet IndigenUS Festival and Material Wealth: Revealing Landscape at Harbourfront Centre (2012), and L’nuk (In Collaboration with Jordan A. Bennett), Anna Leonowens Gallery, Halifax (2012) and The Other Gallery, Banff AB (2010). Johnson lives on the Eskasoni First Nation on Cape Breton Island.
Melody McKiver is an Anishinaabe multi-instrumentalist, improviser, interdisciplinary media artist and researcher. As a solo performer, she explores the range of the viola’s possibilities, from minimalist to danceable, often incorporating laptop processing and looping. Within media arts, she works with digital video and photography to capture images of Indigenous resurgence, and uses this footage both editorially and within video and sound art. McKiver is affiliated with Tribal Spirit Music and plays drums with Toronto’s Indigenous hip-hop fusion band Red Slam Collective. She also records and produces digital media under the pseudonym Gitochige. McKiver is currently completing a MA in Ethnomusicology at Memorial University of Newfoundland. She holds a BFA Honours Major in Music, Minor in Race, Ethnicity & Indigeneity from York University (2010). She currently splits her time between Ottawa and Toronto.