A weekend of music, Indigenous arts and Sir John A. Macdonald

A vibrant showcase of artists from Canada's North, a requiem of warmth, beauty and solace, and a musical look at Canada's first Prime Minister, warts and all.

Indigenous art, musical history lesson on Canada's first PM part of arts events this weekend

Quantum Tangle was awarded a Juno for Indigenous Music Album of the Year 2017. (Quantum Tangle)

A vibrant showcase of artists from Canada's North, a requiem of warmth, beauty and solace, and a musical look at Canada's first prime minister, warts and all.

From the North

A vibrant, rich cultural scene is alive and thriving across the vast Canadian north, and young Indigenous artists are eager to show it off to the rest of the country. Ottawa is the first stop for From the North, a travelling showcase for the talents of Indigenous singers, dancers and artisans from Yellowknife, Whitehorse and Iqaluit. It encompasses a wide range of expression, including the Juno Award-winning duo Quantum Tangle, who blend contemporary blues and roots with throat singing, and Borealis Soul — dancers who deliver hip hop woven with traditional dance styles. 

Borealis Soul performing Dark, Cold, & Quiet- the collective mixes street, hip hop and traditional dance. (Borealis Soul )

In the run-up to a gala performance at La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins on Saturday night, the performers will take part in a family-friendly festival at the Canadian Museum of Nature. Artisans and sculptors will create new works on site, while Inuit and Dene athletes will demo northern sports and games, such as the one-foot kick, the arm Pull, the stick twist, and the knuckle hop, challenging the public chance to give it try.

WHERE: Canada Goose Arctic Gallery, Canadian Museum of Nature, 240 McLeod St.

WHEN: Saturday, 11 a.m. to 2 p.m.

COST:  Included with purchase of admission to the Canadian Museum of Nature. Tickets are $10 for children, $12 students, $14 for adults and free for tiny tots (0-2), and can be purchased here.

Note: The gala performance at the La Nouvelle Scène Gilles Desjardins on Saturday night is sold out.

Beautiful consolation

A requiem is a mass for the dead, originally composed to be part of religious ceremony ushering the deceased into the next world. 

It might sound bleak, but not in the hands of French composer Gabriel Fauré (1845-1924). Fauré's Requiem is soaring work of  transcendent music and voices raised in moments of  joy. The Cantata Singers of Ottawa will perform the music in a candle-lit concert, along with orchestra and featured soloists, baritone Ryan Hoffman and soprano Jeanine Williams, at St. Joseph's Church on Saturday night.

"It evokes great feelings of sadness, but also hope," said musical director Andrew McAnerney.

"This piece is just so beautiful, it's so uplifting and full of magical moments. Every time I listen to it, I get shivers."

Also on the bill: music by Mozart and Bach.

WHERE: St. Joseph's Church, 174 Wilbrod St.

WHEN: Saturday, 7:30 p.m.

COST: Adults $25, seniors $20 and students $8 and they can be purchased online here. Prices increase at the door.

Note: On Sunday at 4:30 p.m. the Requiem will performed at Christ Church Cathedral on Sparks Street, a liturgical performance as part of a Solemn Eucharist. Admission is free.

A musical history lesson

Andrew Galligan is Sir John A. Macdonald in the musical at Centrepointe Theatre. (Sandra Abma/CBC)

Canada's first prime minister is the star of a brand new musical that follows his life of politics and personal struggles. Sir John A. Macdonald – The Musical, written by Gord Carruth, promises to explore the good, the bad and the ugly of the man and his legacy. 

"We're addressing the positives, his role in forging the nation," said Andrew Galligan, who plays Macdonald.

"We've addressed other issues as well, for example, the Canadian Pacific Railway scandal and the starvation of First Nations People in the Northwest Territories and the trial of Louis Riel." 

WHERE: Centrepointe Theatre, 101 Centrepointe Dr.

WHEN: Friday, 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, 1:30 p.m.

COST: Tickets range from $25 to $45, and can be purchased here.