Vince Fontaine, of pop/rock groups Eagle & Hawk and Indian City, is bringing together indigenous and non-indigenous artists for a show called Music in Unity on Jan. 25 in Winnipeg, in support of the Idle No More movement.John K. Samson
, Wab Kinew
, Scott Nolan
, William Prince and Lorenzo
will perform on the concert bill with Eagle & Hawk
Chief Theresa Spence ended her hunger strike this week, but Idle No More rallies and support continue. "This movement started before Chief Spence and will continue until there are parliamentary changes," said Charm Logan, one of the organizers of Idle No More Toronto.
Niigaan James Sinclair, a professor of native studies at the University of Manitoba, said that Spence is not the face of the movement, adding that she is an ally. SCENE
talked to Fontaine about the reasons behind Music in Unity, and why he chose to include both indigenous and non-indigenous artists.Why is it important to you to produce this concert?
I wanted to make a public response as a musician and rally other artists as well. I'm letting people know that, as an artist, we have a social conviction. Look at historical roles of music and artists in societal moments: '60s -- anti-war/civil rights, 9/11 -- artists stand up to let music speak and maybe heal and help assist change.What originally motivated you to create this show?
Watching all the activities across the country, going to Portage and Main, St. Vital mall. I've always had a conviction in my heart about our people and our place in society and Canada. I see us still below the bar in some respects, in terms of standard of living and opportunity maybe.
I'm not one to blow the horn on the past. We already know about the areas where the past has failed. I'm about building the future with hopefully the help of a musical voice in society. I guess in a sense it's back to my "supernation" idea. I believe we're second to none (not above) and should have a fair place in society.Why did you want to include non-Aboriginal artists?
I've always experienced non-Aboriginal folks who are sensitive, educated on our issues, situation and support our cause. From my early experiences touring with Eagle & Hawk in Europe, we found folks who supported. In this case artists like John K. Samson [and] Blue Rodeo, step up to the plate. I wanted to show solidarity that exists within our society. I know that there's a lot of support out there. There may be opposition as well. Look at the presidential election and see what artists were Republican or Democrat? Interesting stuff, the role of the artist. What are you most looking forward to about the Music in Unity show?
Ah just playing a good set of Eagle & Hawk music with [lead singer] Jay Bodner and the band. I'm excited to bring the other artists in to let them feel the power and energy of getting onstage. In this case I'd imagine it will have extra emotion. And to show the unique voice and unity of the music community. Letting them say their take through the music.
The Music in Unity concert takes place Friday, Jan. 25 at the Pyramid. Doors open at 8 p.m.