Standing in Unity Concert and Art Auction, and the We Care Campaign #MMIW

On November 23rd, 2014, musicians and artists in Winnipeg came together, along with community members and families of missing and murdered indigenous women, to stand in unity, and to say loudly, with one voice, "We Care!"

We Care photos by Dollybird Photography and Design

We Care photos by Dollybird Photography and Design

Wow, I was so, so moved by this event. People of all backgrounds, indigenous and non-indigenous, came together in an expression of love and unity. 

The idea for the show started in the Summer of 2014. I was shaken by the news of Tina Fontaine, a 15 year old First Nations girl whose body had just been found in the Red River. My heart broke and my anger boiled. I became more educated and aware about missing and murdered indigenous women, colonialism, and connected social issues. I wanted to do something to contribute to writing the wrongs of a colonial history. I wanted to help acknowledge and correct inequity and injustice. I wanted the world to be a safe place for indigenous women and girls. And I wanted to help spread the word, because I believe that this is an issue for all Canadians, for all those who believe that indigenous women have the right to safety and equality.

Family friend and First Nations activist Leah Gazan and I started talking.  We thought it would be good if a diverse group of people from indigenous and non-indigenous backgrounds could gather in solidarity over this issue, in our city of Winnipeg. Leah suggested a fundraising and awareness concert, and we set to work. Leah, it was a pleasure and an honour to work with you! This remains true, as we continue our work together! Here we are, myself and Leah, at the CBC Winnipeg newsroom the Sunday morning of the show. "Little women, big change!" 

 

Coalition for Families of Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women

The event raised money for the Coalition of Families of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women of Manitoba (CFMMIWM). The coalition, run by beautiful and compassionate people I have had the great pleasure of meeting, reaches out to families of missing and murdered indigenous women and girls, to offer support, resources, and community. I got to spend some time with coalition organizer Bernadette Smith; She does this work with such love and strength. I admire her very much. 

The coalition invited some families of MMIW. Thank you so much for coming. We were honoured that you came. 

 

We Care Campaign

Alongside the concert and art auction, we launched the #WeCare Campaign #MMIW, a social media photo campaign where Canadians of all backgrounds can easily express their support for this issue. The We Care Campaign was the subject of a great CBC news piece that week! The hub for the campaign is the #WeCare Campaign facebook page

The #WeCare Campaign is a firm statement of solidarity to let all levels of government in Canada know that #WeCare, and we will not stop until Indigenous women and girls can enjoy safety in cities, towns, and communities throughout Turtle Island. The We Care photos serve as visible, measurable evidence that this issue matters to Canadians. 

Sharon Humphrey of Dollybird Photography and Design took a lot of pictures that night! Thank you Sharon! Many, many more people have posted their own photos on the facebook page.

It's easy to be a part of the We Care Campaign!

1. Take a photo with a "#We Care #MMIW" sign

2. Post it onto the We Care Campaign facebook page, and onto social media with the hashtags #wecare #mmiw. It also really helps to like the facebook page, and to share the page. 

3. Invite your friends and family to do it too!

We are working hard to keep the campaign rolling, presenting at different events and organizations. The more photos and facebook likes collected, the more strength there is to use the campaign as a tool for political pressure. Please, keep those photos coming!

 

The Stage: Elders, Speakers, Musicians and Artists

Gramma Shingoose and her helper Lorraine opened the event with prayers and acknowledgements of MMIW. It was beautiful. 

A women's drum group, Keewatin Otchitchak,  sang as part of the opening. It was so powerful. 

Bernadette Smith, of the CFMMIWM spoke about the coalition and her own experiences. It was so powerful to hear your story, Bernadette. Thank you for speaking and sharing. 

 

Musicians

Amazing musicians and artists donated their performances and art! The response from musicians and artists was an immediate outpouring of love and support, with no hesitation. Thank you, to all you wonderful contributors! And to those who wanted to contribute but scheduling got in the way! It was so beautiful to witness your compassion. It is so wonderful to know you all! Phenomenal photos of the bands are by the multi-talented Hillarie Tasche. 

Sweet Alibi, you guys sounded SO AWESOME. Especially when you invited the women from the drum group to play a song with you. 

Raine Hamilton. I played a set with the fantsastic Ameena Bajer-Koulak on fiddle. Thanks Ameena! I also threw in a tune where I sing and play the fiddle at the same time. 

Boogey the Beat had a fantastic set, including a piece about missing and murdered indigenous women and girls. So powerful! Hear it here

Heartbeat City! I love these guys! Such a good, honest, vibe. Love this set!!

Mariachi Ghost! What a treat to hear you guys live in this space! 

Slow Spirit! Such love I feel for this band! Their sound is such a trip. 

 

Art Auction

The art auction featured 12 local artists, who donated beautiful pieces! Thank you so much to the artists and bidders! And to Hillarie Tasche for her awesome work organizing the auction! 

Artists included:

KC Adams

Hillarie Tasche

Cathie Ugrin

Yvette Cenerini

Carolyne Kroeker, check out her blog post about the event!

Madeleine Roger

Sarah Thiessen

Ursula La Rue

Doug Wiebe

Lisa Bissett

Nicole Shimonek

Josée Montreuil

 

Gratitude!

Thank you! To all of the performers and artists, to the Graffiti Gallery for donating their space, to the CFMMIWM, to all those who have posted photographs on the We Care page, to Sharon of Dollybird Photography, to Carolyne Kroeker for her amazing graphic design, to Barb Hamilton for making a thousand delicious cupcakes, to Mikey for the sound, to Long and McQuade for equipment loans, to Hillary Tasche for organizing the art auction and taking photos, to my family for their awesome help, to the audience and volunteers who made food, manned the door and helped organize, I am grateful for you all! 

 

And now?...

Now, the work continues.  We're presenting the campaign to various organizations within Winnipeg, and we're taking it on the road! Our goal is to use the campaign as a tool to create political pressure, showing that a huge, measurable number of Canadians are concerned about this issue. We want to help make MMIW a federal election issue. 

Also, We're planning a second #We Care concert, Friday March 27th at the Exchange Community Church, 75 Albert Street in Winnipeg. More details to come! 

Please take a #WeCare #MMIW photo, like the facebook page, and spread the word.

Folk Music Ontario and Eastern Tour!

Wow, do I feel blessed by this fall!! I attended my first folk music conference, toured eastward for the first time, and spent time with lovely people all over the place! 

 

Montreal

 Montreal, where I played a show with the wonderfulest Claire Morrison

Montreal is also where these Macaroons live! 

 

 

Ottawa

Onward to stop 2, Ottawa! My super creative friend and ex-pat Winnipeger Grace Hrabi and I played a show, along with Ottawa-based and fantastic Dynamite Motel

Thank you for the good times, ladies!! :) 

 

Folk Music Ontario Conference

FMO is a conference for folk musicians, folk festivals and other industry professionals. Hundreds of people attend, and I learned TONS from the panels, workshops, networking meetings and performance showcasing.

The conference is held in a hotel, and organizations hold showcases in some of the rooms, into the night! I feel so lucky and excited to have performed with the Manitoba Music showcase!

Many other Manitoba artists also performed! Kevin Roy, Carly Dow, The Sturgeons! And many other rad artists!

And the jamming! The unprecedented calibre of it all!!! I replaced sleeping with jamming, with no regrets. 

 

Toronto!

I had a few days off in Toronto after the conference. Toronto was kind to me! My childhood fiddling friend Rosalyn Dennet lives in Toronto, and she helped me find a new bow. 

House Concert

A few days later In Toronto, this very cool house concert happened! Huge thanks to Karen and Simon for sharing their loft space with us! 

The Great Prairie Campout

Some friends were so kind to host myself and some other outstanding artists at their place in Toronto! Thank you so much for that! It was SO MUCH FUN! 

We turned their basement into the Great Prairie Campout, filled with us Manitoba and Alberta artist types :) The music of the Great Prairie Campout is a real treat! Check out Kevin Roy, and Brett Nelson.

Next

Next is more writing, applying, dreaming, singing and spreadsheets! All that good stuff! Preparations for the full album release are underway!!! 

Thank you for checking out the blog! 

 

 

 

BC Tour 2014

Touring Adventures :)

I am back on the flatlands of the prairie, after a wonderful touring adventure! I played 16 shows in BC, and explored new frontiers of life and joy!

I played 16 shows in BC, and loved them all :) !  I am so happy to share art in the world, and to make new connections and friends. 

Here is a new video from my last tour stop at The Edge of the World Festival on Haida Gwaii.

Some Tour Highlights: 

- It was so rad to hear my song "My Own Way" played on CBC in Victoria. I was in a coffee shop. I smiled and smiled and smiled :) 

- Visiting Haida Gwaii, and performing at the Edge of the World Festival was the coolest! Haida Gwaii is a remote and extraordinary place. 

 

It all started off with The Great Train Adventure!!

Via Rail offers an amazing opportunity to musicians and artists, called Artists on Board: perform on the train in exchange for passage! I played 3 sets a day on the train, got put up in a divine tiny cabin, and ate stupendous meals. It was great!

Vancouver

Then it was off to Vancouver, for some fantastic experiences with fantastic folks! Thanks to Brittany Willacy of The Cross Legged Willies, and Cold Water Road for sharing the stage :) 

Okanagan

- Lake Okanagan

- Kelowna

The Okanagan was next. It was Beautiful! Huge thanks to my BC cousins for their help and support, and to family friends for hosting me! :) 

My stop in Kelowna was made special by the appearance of fellow Winnipeg musician Matthew Carter, who sat in for a few tunes :) Also, I got to catch up with my childhood violin teacher! How cool was that???!! (Very cool. It was very, very cool :) ). 

Vancouver Island

- Victoria

- Cumberland

- Nanaimo

- Duncan

Vancouver Island! What a dream! Staying on a floating house in Victoria was a highlight for sure, as were great collaborative shows! Special thanks to artist Jessica Benini for a really wonderful Victoria show! 

Cumberland and Nanaimo were great stops, with great people, and great newspapers! Check out these write ups in the Comox Valley Record, and the Nanaimo News Bulletin :)

The 39 Days of July festival in Duncan was really something! 39 straight days of music! Unbelievable! I also marvelled at the most unique and interesting venue, The Duncan Showroom. This place is something else. Home to a collection of cherished antiques and oddities, this place wears its uniqueness on its sleeve. The same can be said of the venue's very cool and interesting director, Longevity John (also director of 39 Days of July). Here is but one corner of this interesting place I plan to visit again: 

 
Treasures at the Duncan Showroom, Duncan BC

Treasures at the Duncan Showroom, Duncan BC

 

Haida Gwaii, The Edge of the World Festival

Then it was off to Haida Gwaii for The Edge of the World Festival! First stop, Port Hardy, where I would catch the inside passage ferry to Haida Gwaii. Port Hardy was magical. I walked the tidelines, I saw a million salmon, and I soaked in the etherial energy of that place. The people at the North Coast Trail Hostel were so kind. And there was a tall ship, hanging out and floating around just down the road. How neat!

I saw whales! Really!!!!! I went  on a whale watching day trip, which I highly, highly recommend! We saw a million orcas and a few humpbacks, and they were all awe inspiring! Look, an orca! I promise it is really there :) 

Whale watching in Port McNeil

Whale watching in Port McNeil

I caught the inside passage ferry up to Prince Rupert (16 hours), and then another ferry across to Haida Gwaii (7 hours). I recommend making a fort out of belongings and chairs for the duration. 

I arrived on Haida Gwaii and was so warmly welcomed! The Edge of the World Festival is a gem! There was so much kindness there! it was wonderful to connect with other artists, such as Doug Koyama, Tereza Tomek, Barefoot Caravan, and Frankie. Also, I ate crab for the first time :) It was...not something I've ever come across on the prairie. 

And there you have it!

And there you have it! A grand adventure! I flew home from Haida Gwaii, and spent the remaining summer weekends at Manitoba Festivals (more on that later :) ).  I am so, so happy with how this tour went! Thank you to everyone who supported me and helped me along the way! 

A grand, musical adventure, and on to the next!!!! 

Thank you so much for your interest and support! You guys are the absolute best!!!!

 

 

EP Release Success!

Thank  you all so much for your support for the June 9th EP release! Whether you were there in person, or spirit, or both, thank you so, so much! What an amazing night! I was buzzing for days :) 

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The EP release was a happy success :) A lot of people heard the songs; they got a lot of university radio and CBC airplay, and the project got a few write ups. See them here:

Gray Owl Point

The Uniter 

Outwords

Stylus

The EP is now available for purchase online on my website, here

 

Megan Carlson took amazing photos. What a bright, sun shining day it was! 

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The show was recorded (thank you Andrew Morican!), and I am happy to release some videos today! Here are "Case of You, " and "Paper Cranes," taped live at the show. I will release more videos in the weeks to come.


Huge thanks to Robby for the wonderful sound, to the Exchange Community Church for their beautiful space, and to the collaborating musicians that night: Julian Bradford, Quintin Bart, Daniel Jordan, Sheena Grobb, and Sheena Rattai. You guys are wonderful :) I am so happy to know you! 

And thank YOU!, listeners, enjoyers, experiencers, and concert attenders :) My heart is so full!

Next up, BC tour! 


Small Packages EP

The Making of Small Packages

This project has been a long time in the making! I quit some of my jobs, I wrote some songs, I asked some friends and family for help, and here we are! 


Small Packages, an EP of 3 songs, will be released June 9th, 2014. 7:30 pm, Exchange Community Church, 75 Albert street, 15$. Details here.

Stream the EP here :)

The song January is available for free download here :)

Buy a download card at a live show to get the full EP.



The Songs

The  EP songs are part of a larger full-length album that will be released in 2015. The songs (January, My Own Way, Time) are very personal and transformative.

January

It is beautiful to be known deeply by another person. And when those relationships end, a heart can be rebuilt, but first the pieces must be spread out and acknowledged. First the story must be told.

I wrote this song in the Winnipeg airport, leaving home, and leaving love behind.

My Own Way

Here, I leave behind what I thought I was supposed to do, how I thought I was supposed to live. I let it go, I forgive myself, and I sing. 

Time

Choosing what to do with our time here can be daunting. Especially when you don’t have a dishwasher. When so many tasks abound, we can be left wondering, “Where’s the time? When will I do all these other things? These Important things?” Luckily I happened upon enough time to at least write a song about it. Then I ran out of forks.

Recording

Recording started in fall of 2013, with some fine and awesome musician friends: Bill Hamilton (Guitar, producer, engineer. This is my dad!), Quintin Bart (Bass), Julian Bradford (Cello), Daniel Jordan (Drums), Donovan Locken (Mandolin), Daniel Péloquin-Hopfner (Banjo). We recorded in my parents' home, and what a blast it was!

Quintin Bart, Julian Bradford, Raine Hamilton, keeping it awesome.

Quintin Bart, Julian Bradford, Raine Hamilton, keeping it awesome.

 

My dad, Bill Hamilton has been an amazing asset to this project! He has been incredibly supportive of my songwriting and music career; an early soundboard I bounce ideas around with, a role model songwriter and musician. Thanks dad! In this project, he contributes as producer and engineer, as well as the main guitarist. You rock dad! Thank you for your amazing support and contribution.

 

Julian Bradford does an amazing job on cello! Julian, you are so great to have around, and I love love love your contribution to this recording! Thank you for all of your notes, and for your chill, even-keeled approach to life and music! Also, you should hear this guy play the bass! julianbrafordmusic.com

 

 

 

Quintin Bart is upright bassist with fantastic chops, intuition, and insight! Thank you for your generous, authentic and ingenious ideas! The arrangements thank you too!



 

Daniel Jordan, I am so, so happy you could play drums on this record! You brought such care, accuracy, insight, foresight and authenticity to this project! Thank you! Click here to be amazed by Daniel and his amazing band, Red Moon Road.


 

Donovan Locken contributed  killer mandolin licks to this recording. Thanks Donovan! You were one of the first musicians I collaborated with on this project. Thank you for working these songs out with me, and for laying down those sweet runs! Check out his sweet bluegrass band, Flat City Folk.

 

Daniel Péloquin-Hopfner is responsible for the sweet banjo happenings in Time. Thank you for rehearsing and recording, even when you were so, so busy. Your sensitive and skilled musical stylings contributed so much! Here is DPH in action, rocking the banjo in the stellar band Red Moon Road.

 

 

Thank you for your interest and support! I appreciate it hugely! If you feel like it would be cool to keep in touch about events and fun times etc., please sign up for the newsletter (and get a free download!) .