JUNOS – JUNE 2nd Honouring Ceremony 2021.
June 2nd, 2021, the JUNOS presented via CBC and Side Door video platform, Honoring Ceremony was held with host Mohawk and Tuscarora playwright and broadcaster from Six Nations Grand River, who is also a member of the Bear Clan, that’s right, I am talking about Falen Johnson. FYI, did you know Johnson spent most of her formative years in Brantford, Ontario; yet, she currently lives in Toronto. She is the co-host of CBC Podcasts’ The Secret Life of Canada and is the guest-host of CBC Radio’s UNRESERVED for the 2020/21 season. She welcomed all and honored all the sovereign regions and their treaties while holding a 5-minute silence in remembrance of the 215 children that were killed in Kamloops, BC.
We virtually celebrated and recognized the incredible talent and indigenous musical realm from the Nations of Turtle Island hosted by Featuring performances by JUNO nominees Burnstick, Terry Uyarak, Crystal Shawanda, and appearances by Crown Lands, Julian Taylor, Leela Gilday, and William Prince.
Special guest performances and appearances by Black Bull Moose Singers are a group of Anishnasbek drummers and singers from M’chigeeng Georgian Bay and Southern Ontario 1st Nations and consist of Darren McGregor, George Shawana, Brandon Petahtegoose, Brad Robinson, and Steve Antoine. An honorary member is Art Petahtegoose. Veteran and U.S. Marine, Shawn Recollet engaged us with an honoring song entitled Northern Strait. https://www.facebook.com/BlackBullSingers
Guest appearance and opening remarks were from David R. Maracle (Tehanenia’kwe:tarons) of the Bear Clan, who was born the seventh son of Andrew C. Maracle (Mohawk, Turtle Clan) and Lillian J. Maracle (Scottish, Bruce Clan) and lived his first 12 years of life on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve. David has a deep understanding and appreciation for his Mohawk Haudenosaunee roots. Greeted us from the Belleville Theatre with opening and closing emotional performances honoring with a welcome address entitled, Life Blood of Mother Earth. http://www.davidrmaracle.com/about-david
The next guest was no other than an award-winning, passionate, soulful singer/songwriter from the Dene Nation based in Yellowknife, NT, yes the one and only, Leela Gilday. https://www.facebook.com/leelagildaymusic
Followed by Canadian singer, musician, and songwriter, Julian Taylor who grew up in a musical family of West Indian and Mohawk descent. A Toronto music scene staple, Julian has been empowered to explore his own music and this can be heard progressively through his album releases. https://juliantaylormusic.ca/
3rd performance of this session was by Terry Uyarak, an Inuk singer-songwriter from Igloolik, Nunavut, Canada, whose debut album Nunarjua Isulinginniani was released in 2020. Prior to launching his musical career, Uyarak was a performer and artistic director with Artcirq, an Inuit circus troupe. Terry perfected an emotional original song which translated into English, entitled Just Breathe. http://www.aakulukmusic.com/terry-uyarak
Next, William Prince, a Canadian folk and country singer-songwriter based in Winnipeg, Manitoba, dropped in to say hello alongside his wife and child with greetings from Treaty 1 in Winnipeg, who won the Juno Award for Contemporary Roots Album of the Year at the Juno Awards of 2017 for his debut album Earthly Days. He performs as a solo artist and alongside Vince Fontaine and Don Amero in the band Indian City. https://www.williamprincemusic.com/
Crystal Shawanda and husband DeWayne alongside their 4.5-year-old daughter Zhaa Zhaa, who had fun welcoming us and dedicated this in honor of the 215 children that died in BC. They nailed a perfect projection of their hit Bigger Than the Blues from her newest 2020 album, Church House Blues. http://crystalshawanda.co They dug deep into the heart of the blues and displayed her perfected vocals using the depths of blues music while they entertained and inspire people.
Nominated Crownlands co-founding member Cory Bowles, of Canadian duo Crown Lands (consisting of Kevin Comeau (guitar, bass, and keys) and Cody Bowles (vocals and drums)), have returned with two songs that bring them back to their prog-rock roots and point the way to a limitless future, coming all the way from home, shared a greeting from the nominated duo in Oshawa. http://www.crownlandsmusic.com/
7th visit was from award-winning husband and wife folk duo, Jason and Nadia Burnstick, who shared their lush harmonies and poignant lyrics giving us a rousing showcase filled with rich complexity and tranquility, a true introspective delight. Their style of folk music brims with the kind of chemistry that could only come from a husband and wife. Jason, a Plains-Cree guitarist, and Nadia, a Francophone-Métis singer-songwriter, together their energy creates that stunningly perfect treasure of melodies that Burnstick is famous for. Two performers whose voices and languages blend together with ease, Burnstick pushes the boundaries of contemporary folk music, weaving together the unique sounds of vintage Weissenborns with intriguing vocal harmonies, while allowing the beauty of simple melodies to shine through. It’s hard to deny the magic they create as they commanded their stage with their beautiful performance of their original, Some Kind of Hell. https://www.facebook.com/jason-burnstick-159407900762 and http://burnstickduo.com
Kim Wheatley, an Anishinaabe (Ojibway) band member of Shawanaga First Nation. She is Turtle Clan, a proud grandmother of 2 granddaughters, mother of 3 daughters, and an indigenous creative contributor and can be seen on TV or heard on Radio. Kim’s love of Indigenous hand-drumming/singing and Anishinaabe traditional teachings defines her life journey and is always the framework of interaction that shapes her worldview. She is deeply committed to creating and promoting awareness of the Indigenous perspective utilizing her gifts of song, storytelling, and traditional teachings. Kim has provided a wide variety of culture-based workshops throughout the greater Southern region of Ontario that educates, sensitizes, and expands the minds of those seeking a greater understanding of the Indigenous perspective Her diverse accomplishments and contributions include membership on the Durham Regional Aboriginal Advisory Circle for the Oshawa Health Center (DRAAC), Aboriginal Sport and Wellness Council of Ontario (ASWCO) as the Southern Regional Vice-Chair as well as on the University of Ontario Institute of Technology (UOIT) Aboriginal Advisory Circle. She is also a Toronto Zoo Pow Wow organizer; the 2015 Aboriginal Pavilion Pow Wow organizer and Head Dancer and co-author of The Ways of Knowing Guide Earth’s Teachings, Walking with Miskwaadesi, Walking with A’norwara & Curriculum-based Activities Guide. She continues to actively work throughout the greater southern region of Ontario as an Indigenous Cultural Consultant using her diverse experiences and traditional knowledge for the greater good! She visited to present each of the 8 artists today, with their very own one-of-a-kind unique gift made of birchbark and Porcupine Quills in the form of Quill Boxes, a traditional gift hand-made dyed quills that were woven into the birchbark from the Great Lakes Territories and across Canada. https://www.facebook.com/Kim-Wheatley-152967458586013
David Maracle returned for closing remarks from Belleville Theatre once again, a fitting performance to compliment the opening he did. He gave his love medicine to us all and he sent prayers out to those on Mother Earth for peace and harmony for all. He unleashed an emotionally compelling and passionate expression, blended perfectly with both an ancient meets futuristic feel fueled by his melodic Aboriginal didgeridoo sound. https://www.facebook.com/profile.php?id=508421523
An emotionally stirring showcase, I was covered in goosebumps.