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The Geography of Candace

This week, Soundxchange has a feature interview and reading with the much lauded author of Geography of Blood, Candace Savage, the country by way of the Wikwemikong Native Reservation of Manitoulin Island, Ontario of rising star Crystal Shawanda, and another touching Generation U essay by Humboldt's Janice Stennick.













Candace Savage won the 2012 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction for her book A Geography of Blood: Unearthing Memory from a Prairie Landscape.

Candace Savage was nearly born in the cab of a pickup truck, somewhere in the middle of the prairies. So perhaps it is not entirely surprising that she has always had a taste for off-the-map destinations and wild landscapes. Even so, it is hard to explain why the Cypress Hills of southwestern Saskatchewan have held her spellbound for so long, or why she and her partner decided to purchase a house in a town they'd scarcely heard of before. Who would have guessed that this lonely, tumbled land would have so many stories to tell? Who would have guessed that the prairie could be such an unsparing teacher?

Savage was raised in a succession of small towns, mostly in Alberta, and educated there and at the University of Alberta in Edmonton. Following graduation, she became a kind of intellectual gadabout, following her curiosity wherever it took her. To date, this need-to-know attitude has led to the publication of dozens of books and essays on the widest possible range of subjects, from the cosmic science of the aurora to the inner workings of a beehive.

She is the award-winning author of numerous magazine articles and 27 books, including Crows: Encounters with the Wise Guys of the Avian World,  Bees: Nature's Little Wonders, and Prairie: A Natural History.

Several of her works have been translated into multiple languages, and many have garnered awards and praise. In 2010, Savage was inducted as a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada, in recognition of her scholarly and artistic achievements.

 A devoted grass-hugger, Savage is the co-sponsor of a private grassland restoration project and also sits on the Saskatchewan board of the Nature Conservancy of Canada. She and her partner, art historian Keith Bell, split their time between Saskatoon and Eastend, SK, always in the company of too many pets.

Read more on Candace's website.



Crystal Shawanda was born on the Wikwemikong Native Reservation on Canada's Manitoulin Island in Ontario. She grew up immersed in all styles of music, especially country, being the youngest of three siblings; music has always been a part of who Crystal is. At 12, she accompanied her truck-driver father on a long haul to the southern United States, and visited Nashville for the first time. At 13, she recorded her first album in Nashville, all of which were songs that she wrote. Over the next several years recorded 3 more independent albums, traveled back and forth to Nashville, honed her craft, and finally got a full -time gig at the famous Tootsie's Orchid Lounge on Nashville's world famous Broadway. There, she met her husband and lead guitarist, Dewayne Strobel, where they shared the stage for six years.



While working at Tootsie's, Crystal began to work with producer Scott Hendricks (Faith Hill, Brooks and Dunn) and it was then that Nashville music-business legend Joe Galante signed Crystal to RCA Records/Sony Music Nashvillein 2007. Crystal's first single,"You Can Let Go" , was the fastest rising single in Canadian BDS History and reached top 5 in Canada and top 20 in the US. Her debut album "Dawn of a New Day" was released in 2008, was Billboard's highest charting album by a Native American in history, and sold over 400,000 copies. A CMT six-part documentary also aired in Canada called "Crystal: Living the Dream", giving fans an inside look at Crystal's life in Nashville.

Crystal won the 2013 Aboriginal album award to for her latest release Just Like You.

This recording comes from the CBC sponsored Songwriters' Circle event at the 2013 Juno awards, held in Regina.


Read more on Crystal's website.