OPENING: A Cree Cabaret, 6–7 pm
In The Famous Spiegeltent. By reservation only due to venue capacity. BOOK A SEAT >
Tomson Highway is a world-renowned Cree playwright, composer, musician, novelist and language advocate. This program features highlights of Highway's musical canon performed by Highway on piano with vocalist Patricia Cano and Marcus Ali on saxophone.
PART 1: Roots, 7–8 pm
Tributaries branch, fork and feed into larger waters, and these water systems are the keepers of land knowledge as they interact with the environment. Tributaries’ mainstage program kicks off with its first tribute to the knowledge keepers in the ROOTS program.
Alberta-based seven-time Grammy-nominated Northern Cree and recent winners of The Lifetime Achievement Award (Indigenous Music Awards, Manito Ahbee Festival, Winnipeg) launch the evening’s outdoor program. Considered the world’s premier Pow-Wow singing group and the undisputed ambassadors of Round Dance music, Northern Cree open the evening, welcoming audiences to join them in the centre of the square. Following their opening song, multidisciplinary artist, cultural intellectual, and celebrity, Dr. Duke Redbird, through spoken-word will present a new commissioned poem paying tribute to the land, and the traditional and territorial Nations.
Continuing to inspire togetherness and goodwill, Northern Cree returns to the stage with their distinctive popular rhythms. In this last half hour, Laura Grizzlypaws and Norma Araiza enter the square performing their rarely seen dance styles. Grizzlypaws, of the St’át’imc Nation (BC) and Bear Clan, has a creative, metaphorical relationship of the spirit of the bear. Feeling his/her pleasure, pain, anger, hope and freedom, she dances the Bear Dance. Norma Araiza, Yoeme (Yaqui) (Mex), envokes the feeling of freedom by honouring the natural world and the white tail deer through her presentation of the Yaqui Deer Dance, or La Danza del Venado.
PART 2: Resurgence, 8–9 pm
Part two of Tributaries programming, Red Tidal Resurgence reflects the emergence of voices representing the power and resilience of Indigenous women. Created specifically for Tributaries, this new production features solo vocal performances by Iskwe, Jennifer Kreisberg, Cheri Maracle, Leanne Betasamasake Simpson and Tanya Taqaq, supported by a seven-piece band and a nine-member choir led by operative tenor, Jeremy Dutcher. Musical Direction and arrangement is driven by the vision of cellist and composer, Cris Derksen. The song list directly links to the Tributaries themes and includes existing work by each solo artist, Jeremy Dutcher and Cris Derksen.
PART 3: Reclamation, 9–10 pm
One of the world’s most singular voices, Lila Downs’ (Mixteca) poignant storytelling transcends all language barriers. Raised in Minnesota and Oaxaca, this global superstar’s exquisite artistry bridges traditions from across the Americas, with influences ranging from the folk and ranchera music of Mesicao and South America to North American folk, jazz, blues and hip-hop. As a passionate human-rights activist, Lila’s lyrics often highlight issues relating to social justice, sharing stories that too often go untold.
PART 4: Emancipation, 10–11 pm
Tributaries culminates with a DJ-VJ ‘Call & Response’ interaction across David Pecaut Square with Bear Witness (Cayuga) and Lido Pimienta (Afro-Columbian, Wayuu). These two dynamic artists will call on each other to express messages through music, visual imagery and vocals (Pimienta). Each artist will demonstrate their distinct style in response to Roots, Resurgence, Reclamation and Emancipation. Joining the stage are b-boy/b-girl dance performers, Krystal Froman aka Krystal Riverz, Tristan Martell aka ShaMantan, Juan Esguerra aka Siez Swift, Brianna Olson aka Briskool, and Jared Robillard aka JayRobi.
Bear Witness is a multimedia artist, DJ, filmmaker, producer and member of electro-rap DJ collective, A Tribe Called Red (ATCR), based in Ottawa. He remixes appropriated images and sound to claim visual sovereignty over Indigenous representation and imagined Indigenous futures. Lido Pimienta (aka Soundsister) is a Toronto-based interdisciplinary artist who exists in a roulette of musical journeys from traditional Columbian percussion to darker avant-garde electronica soundscapes united by her explosive yet heart-warming voice.