Possibly the most well-known Indigenous musician in Canada, Buffy Sainte-Marie, will ‘redline’ a virtual Indigenous music festival in early September.
The 2 Rivers Remix festival has for the past two years been held in Lytton (’Q’emcin is the Indigenous name for the area) but will be going virtual this year due to coronavirus pandemic restrictions impacting all summer festivals in the province. The third edition of the festival, dubbed an ‘online feast of contemporary Indigenous music’, will be streamed at 2riversremix.ca/live/ and other streaming platforms Sept. 4 to 6.
“Buffy Sainte-Marie is a cultural tour-de-force and a tireless social justice activist with multiple JUNO awards and a Polaris Prize as well as being the first Indigenous artist ever to win an Academy Award,” an announcement from the festival team read. Sainte-Marie will deliver an exclusive performance Sept. 6.
“From Universal Soldier, her definitive anti-war anthem, to her 2017 album Medicine Songs, Buffy Sainte-Marie makes us all feel stronger and more capable of seeing the world around us clearly,” organizers stated. “Part rhythmic healing, part trumpeting wakeup call, Medicine Songs is her soundtrack for the resistance.”
Joining Sainte-Marie are a range of award-winning Indigenous musicians including Haisla hip hop duo Snotty Nose Rez Kids, originally from Kitimat. Their second and third albums were on the shortlist for the Polaris Prize – Exclaim! magazine also named their album TRAPLINE one of the top 10 hip hop albums of 2019.
Inuit throat singers PIQSIQ will also be performing at the virtual feast. The Juno-winning sister-duo Inuksuk Mackay and Tiffany Kuliktana Ayalik have their roots in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot and Kivalliq regions and grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories. They perform both traditional Inuit songs and new compositions, involving improvised live looping in a sound they call “haunting” and “ethereal.”
Thirty artists will perform over the three day virtual festival, a line-up which is all about reflecting the ‘diversity and strength of Indian country’ organizers stated. Half of the performers are women, one third are youth and one-fifth are two-spirit artists.
“In the summer of COVID-19, Indigenous artists are reverberating and remixing the Interior Nations Chiefs’ 1910 declaration: ‘We will help each other be great and good,’” stated artistic director of the festival Meeka Morgan, who is of Secwepemc, Nuu-chah-nulth and Nlaka’pamux heritage.
Other artists on the line-up include two-spirit songwriter Shawnee, winner of the 2020 CBC Music Searchlight competition, and Juno-winning pop and conscious hip hop artist Kinnie Starr.
The festival also features an Elder series, bringing in artists including blues performer Murray Porter, Willie Thrasher, Linda Saddleback, Gordon Dick Sr. as well as Helene Duguay who was a member of the Quebec girl group the Beatlettes.
For people interested in delving into more of the BC Indigenous music scene during this summer can visit virtualfeast.ca. The platform was launched to both highlight and support Indigenous artists during the pandemic.
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