Calgary Folk Music Festival making efforts to recognize Indigenous land and culture
Robyn Welsh, Publishing Editor
Now in it’s 39th year, Calgary Folk Music Festival is developing new ideas for recognizing Indigenous land and history in the future. The plan is early in the works and details have not been flushed out yet, but future years may feature an exhibit bringing Indigenous historical context to Prince’s Island Park.
The festival is currently making efforts to recognize and celebrate Indigenous culture. Folk Festival stated in a press release that Indigenous music and dance will be celebrated through a program called Great Spirits that, “showcases the breadth and depth of indigenous cultural expressions.”
Indigenous artists from Canada and Australia will perform at the festival. Canadian artists include A Tribe Called Red (Ojibwa, Mohawk, and Cayuga Nations), Jeremy Dutcher (Wolastoq Nation) and Quantam Tangle (Anishinaabe-Métis and Inuit).
A Tribe Called Red’s unique sound draws influence from instrumental hip hop, moombahton, reggae, and dubstep while incorporating First Nations drumming and vocal chanting. The group released their self titled debut album in 2012 and have since gone on to win two Juno Awards while playing shows across North America and Europe. Be sure to check out their session at Boot Camp at Studio Bell on Wednesday July 25.
Melding his own vision with field recordings of Indigenous peoples along the St. John (Wolastoq) river basin, Jeremy Dutcher reclaims language and culture through his music. Dutcher is a classically trained operatic tenor who brings a full-bodied voice and intense emotion to his work.
Quantum Tangle will also grace the Folk Festival stage this year. Drawing from their Anishinaabe-Métis and Inuit backgrounds, the group tells powerful musical stories. Quantum Tangle is known for incorporating traditional throat singing into their full-bodied mesmerizing melodies.
Archie Roach, who has been an active musician since the 1980, incorporates chilling storytelling and Australian history with truthful vocalism. Emotion seeps through his lyrics and dialled-back style.
Mission Songs Project, an Australian group, portrays down to earth stories “about identity, love and loss that shed light into the history of Indigenous elders, families and communities on missions, settlements and reserves,” as stated in the press release.
The festival says it is doing what it can to support Indigenous artists.
“What we are doing primarily is making sure we bring in a solid number of Indigenous artist from different backgrounds,” Artistic Director Kerry Clarke said. The festival also makes sure to acknowledge Indigenous lands each day on their main stage.
Folk Festival will also be bringing back their Tent Talk series this year. If you’re looking for a laugh and window into Cree culture, stop by to see actress and playwright Michelle Thrush. Her alter ego Majica, the aboriginal healing clown, will be sure to bring a smile to your face.
Last week Folk Fest announced their 2018 lineup. To see the full list of performers, and to purchase tickets visit Calgary Folk Festival’s website. The festival will take place July 26 through 29, 2018.