Singer Errol Ranville finds inspiration to heal

After a horrific crash that killed his wife and four others last October, aboriginal singer Errol Ranville is starting to live again.
Errol and Marcie Ranville in an undated Facebook photo. (Facebook)

After a horrific crash that killed his wife and four others last October, aboriginal singer Errol Ranville is starting to live again.

And his recovery has a lot to do with the music of a young singer. It's a song of loss, sung by 16-year-old Ali Fontaine from Manitoba's Sagkeeng First Nation.

"I just want to tell you I love you and I miss you," the lyrics go, as Fontaine pays tribute to Marcie Ranville.

Errol Ranville, the lead singer of the popular Winnipeg-based country-rock band C-Weed, was the only survivor of the fiery head-on crash on Thanksgiving weekend in northern Manitoba on Oct. 8, 2010. The Ranvilles were in a Jeep on Highway 10 just south of The Pas when it collided with a car carrying four people from the nearby Opaskwayak Cree Nation.

Errol, who was inducted into the Aboriginal Music Hall of Fame in 2005, was critically injured and doctors didn't know if he would survive.

On Friday, for the first time since the accident, he spoke to media about undergoing numerous surgeries for injuries — broken back, sternum, ribs, pelvis, shattered lower right leg and ankle and foot, left ankle and foot — and about battling depression after learning he had lost his life partner.

"It has been a difficult journey and my daily physical therapy and care continues," he said at a news conference held at Health Sciences Centre (HSC) Winnipeg, where he spent 62 days.

"I still have to deal with my loss and trauma, and the loneliness, depression and fear, but I continue work on healing, physically, emotionally, mentally and personally."

He is now at home continuing his daily physical therapy. A major part of that, at least emotionally, is helping Fontaine.

"I wish to focus on moving my life forward and one of the things I am excited about is helping … Ali Fontaine's career," Errol said.

"Mentoring this young singer gives me excitement and a passion for life again."

Hearing her song about Marcie "pulled me out of depression. It was a Godsend. I had to go on," Errol said.

He and Marcie managed the Manitoba Star Attractions Talent Showcase in 2010 which produced Ali Fontaine as a winner.

"I know Marcie would have been pleased to know I will be managing Ali and also the Manitoba Star Attractions Talent Showcase once again in 2011 and continue to help bring Manitoba talent to the attention of the music industry," Errol said.

On Saturday, he will take the stage and try to sing for the first time since the crash. He will perform at the Forks during celebrations for National Aboriginal Day.

At the same time, Fontaine will release her first CD.