David Fort of Twin paddling to the next venue (Friends of Grassy Narrows)
The 3rd Annual Assiniboine River Music Armada is an extremely unique
concert series. It involves a host of bands, lead by Winnipeg's
"hypno-alt country folk" group Twin, who will traverse the Assiniboine River system in canoes from Minnedosa to Winnipeg bringing their sounds.
The purpose of the tour is to promote sustainable living and farming via a heritage seed exchange and a partnership with local farmers. Paddling and playing alongside Twin this year will be an eclectic lineup including The Young Pixels (who are farmers themselves), Little Hawk, Rob Crooks, Monsieur Coccinel and several other acts.
SCENE decided to ask David Fort, organizer and singer/songwriter from Twin, to give us the low-down on the armada. So here is that view from the canoe.
I first had the idea for the River Music Armada while touring with Absent Sound. While reading maps and passing over rivers across North America I just clued in to how interconnected the waterways are. At that point I began to think touring via the rivers would be unbelievably doable - especially with acoustic instruments. Plus I love when people gather by water, it's so calming and beautiful.
With this being the third edition of the Assiniboine River Music Armada, one would think that it would now become smooth sailing (or should that be paddling?). But in actuality, it gets harder and easier all at the same time.
As more people get involved the more coordinating it takes. It is booking both a tour and arranging a canoe trip at the same time. The route becomes a lot more familiar each year which is fun as you really start to feel more at home in the landscape that is ever-changing. As the venues and people get more interested and secure it becomes easier to leave local logistics to people involved in the communities along the way.
But this is not to say that crazy stuff doesn't happen. We were once stopped on the L.A River by the L.A.P.D Helicopters whose shrill whistle pierces straight into your heart. I only hope we can one day top this story. Back in Canada the formation of new river channels and paddling on the post-flood of the Assiniboine last year was truly fascinating and a bit harrowing as it was confusing as to which way to go on the river sometimes.
This year we're getting great reaction from farmers, producers and food enthusiasts in general about the tour. A lot of people are talking with great concern about the industrial farm complex and starting to take action - and this one thing we are really trying to promote with this tour via our seed exchange.
Being outside all day and moving with the river is incredibly invigorating and when we get to where we are playing it is such a great reward for ourselves and all around. Rhythm and peace is a huge theme of paddling. People often ask us if we play or sing in the canoe, but that does not happen very much. It's actually a very meditative experience that is sometimes broken only for great conversation and story telling. To tell the truth the music often comes out on the shore - and of course, later on stage.
Listen to Twin in this as-yet unreleased song, "Sunrise:"