Some great press from Exclaim! and Ottawa Showbox from the performance on August 19, 2015 at the Arboretum Festival, co presented by the Asinabka Festival, live-scoring films by Mosha Folger and Christian Chapman.
Though the hour felt like a relatively short time in which to display her talents, Anishinaabe artist Melody McKiver’s performance was a captivating confluence of both sound and vision. Dedicating the first half of the set to her standalone solo work, McKiver demonstrated a focused, technical approach to the viola with two original compositions. “Theresa,” written at the height of the Idle No More movement, saw her pluck the strings of her instrument before clicking a loop pedal to layer steady melodies over top, while “Ziigwan” did well to capture the arrival of the spring season, for which it was named.
The second half saw McKiver showcase her film score work, playing compositions in time to projections of two films on the church wall. Aided by her array of pedals, she recreated her impeccably layered four-part viola score for Inuk filmmaker Mosha Folger’s stop-motion production The Big Lemmingand her more minimal, emotive score for a segment of Christian Chapman’sEdmazinbiiget, which highlighted her inclusion of reverb and delay effects. 8/10. – Callum Slingerland
And via Eric Scharf at Ottawa Showbox:
Opening the night was Anishinaabe viola player extraordinaire, Melody McKiver. She started with two originals making excellent use of looping pedals and had me captured right. Then she took it up a notch. There is something truly special about watching projected short films as someone performs the soundtrack live. The films, which were projected on the church wall and presented by the Asinabka: Aboriginal Film and Media Arts Festival, were Edmazinbiiget by Christian Chapman and The Big Lemming by Mosha Folger. It was a fascinating experience I want to be a part of again.
At today’s rally I had to focus a bit more on video coverage (forthcoming), but here’s a selection of some of my favourites. There was a special call out to jingle dancers to come and share their healing dance with the hundreds of people gathered in a snowstorm.
Here’s a selection of photos shot during the #J11 rally from Victoria Island, to the PM’s office on Langevin Block, to Parliament Hill. The day is now infamous for the disappointment of the Chiefs’ meetings with the Prime Minister and the Governor General, and the continuation of Chief Spence’s hunger strike. However, the grassroots energy on the streets prior to the meetings was truly inspirational. Video forthcoming.
There’s been such a wealth of beautiful writing about the recently that for now, I’ll redirect attention to writings by Wab Kinew and Chelsea Vowel. Robert Animikii Horton wrote a piece in 2010 about an Anishinaabe dream, that reads like it could have been written this week.
I’ve been spending as much time as possible at Chief Theresa Spence’s hunger strike camp on Victoria Island, and at solidarity and #IdleNoMore events. For me, this is the largest Indigenous mobilization I have seen in my life time, and I am dreaming of the possibilities.
The day prior to the first big Idle No More rally on Parliament Hill, a number of supporters, dancers, and singers gathered around the Centennial Flame for a day-long round dance. Here’s some pictures from the first few hours:
I went down to New Orleans on October 30 – November 5. The official purpose of my trip was to give a paper and screen a documentary at the Society for Ethnomusicology annual conference, but as a drummer, musician, and lover of music, it’s a trip I’ve long wanted to make. I made sure to maximize my time in New Orleans away from the conference, and quickly fell in love with the city. I was mostly on foot throughout the French Quarter, Warehouse District, CBD, and the Marigny, and tried to travel light, so my proper camera mostly stayed in my hotel room. Here’s all of the photos off of my phone. More to come.