Another amazing celebration of Native culture with Montreal’s First Peoples’ Festival has summed up its activities with grand cheers and standing ovations, at Place des Arts, Théâtre Maisonneuve.
On June 21st, National Aboriginal day, and the last day of the festivities, Dvorak’s New World Symphony preformed pieces inspired by Innu poems and an Ojibway song, welcoming Minda Forcier, a soprano of Atikamekw heritage and Tara-Louise Montour, a Mohawk violinist to the Orchestra. The music soared through the theatre, dancing with the spirits of unity and tradition.
“The collaboration with the symphonic orchestra, which is something completely new for us, was so beautiful, and I think all this is possible through the youth and the strength of Yannick Nézet-Séguin who is not yet 30 years old and is already a master in his own trade,” said festival organizer André Dudemaine. “Yannick is so open and so willing to collaborate and he brought all this energy without any prejudice. We want to build on that first step and in the years to come I think we will have other great symphonic concerts around the 21st of June and with First Nations Artists.”
Montreal’s First Peoples’ Festival was launched to promote and highlight First Nations’ throughout the Americas. This year’s 14th Festival offered a solid, varied program of events that opened with a major exhibition and ended with the sensational Symphonic concert.
The Festival officially opened on June 10 with an exhibition entitled Founding Mythologies: Nunavik engravings and sculptures. Other musical highlights included Rez, White and Blues at the Lion d’Or, which brought together Forestare’s 12 guitarists, the duo Taima, Gilles Sioui, Brian André, and Richard Desjardins and the Kanasuta musicians.
Amid all the musical and sculptural activities, the National Film Board hosted screenings of shorts, cartoon, movie and documentary style films, produced, directed or staring some of today’s aspiring native talent. Including Rezolution Pictures Dab Eeyou episodes 5 and 6, Jeff Barnaby’s short film, Cherry English, and Daniel Geary’s full length movie called On The Corner, starring Kahnawake’s Alex Rice.
This year’s turnout for all events was tremendous. First Nations people in creative media are on the rise, and festivals like this one help to share our artistic capabilities.