Pope, not pope, let’s go!
The 32nd International First Peoples’ Festival unveils its program
Montreal, July 26, 2022. More important than Rome, its pomp and circumstance and its repentance, Aboriginal art stands up, rises up and proudly asserts itself. Anger, joy and hope are its cardinal virtues.
The Montreal First Peoples’ Festival, which takes place this year from August 9th to 18th, is an epiphanic moment of encounters, concerts, screenings, and exhibitions, during which a true contemporary miracle is accomplished in full view of the crowds. These cultures and languages that we wanted to erase from history are alive and the heart of Montreal will soon vibrate under their harmonic chords.
Concerts and theater
On the Place des festivals, an emblematic scenography will emerge from years of pandemic torpor with new finery. The Québecor stage will be set up there, where prodigious concerts will take place.
“Québecor is proud to have been a major partner of the Montreal International First Peoples’ Festival, a must-see event of the Montreal summer season, for nearly 10 years. Through our support of this unique event, which is an opportunity to learn more about the history and contemporary and traditional art of First Nations, we are pursuing our commitment to encourage the expression and influence of artists and artisans,” stated Pierre Karl Péladeau, President and Chief Executive Officer of Québecor.
On the Québécor stage, therefore, a program of great evening concerts will be presented. Starting on Wednesday, August 10th, the curtain will rise with Leonard Summer, Anishinaabe singer and songwriter, followed by Beatrice Deer, an “Inuindie” artist with an impressive track record. On August 11st, with Nikamotan MTL-new, a concert featuring a host of artists brought together by Musique Nomade. Then, the Atikamekw band Pinaskin from Manawan will precede the Digging Roots duo composed of ShoShona and Raven. On Saturday, August 13rd, Mack MacKenzie (formerly of Montreal’s Three O’Clock Train) will perform before Innu singer Matiu takes the stage to perform songs from his new album Tipatshimushtunan (“tell us about it”), which will be released on site for the occasion. True to its tradition, the Nuestroamericana Friendship show will celebrate the brotherhood that unites the First Nations, the peoples of our America and those of other regions and continents of the world. On Monday, August 15th, the autobiographical play Uteï, récit d’un survivant (Menuentakuan Productions), written and performed in Innu and French by Omer St-Onge from Maliotenam, will be presented.
On Sunday, August 14th, Quelques part et autres lieux, a large concert will bring together the Nouvel Ensemble de Montréal and Forestare in the auditorium of the Grande Bibliothèque. Deantha Edmunds, Inuk soprano, will be the guest of honour, with Lorraine Vaillancourt at the music stand, performing poems in Innu-aimun by the now famous Joséphine Bacon, whose texts have been set to music by Tim Brady: this will be the world premiere of Uiesh, a piece for one voice and fourteen instruments. In the same program, Andrée-Lévesque-Sioui, Wendat author, will perform her poems to chords conceived by Alexandre Ethier.
Our contemporary heroes do not kneel, they stand proudly, and the cinema will bear witness to this in the works presented at the Cinéma du Musée.
Like the great chief whose Adeus, Capitão by Vincent Carelli and Tatiana Almeida traces the heroic journey as leader of the Gavio Nation in an impressive film: a summit of Brazilian cinema. In addition, Carelli will receive a historical achievement award for his four decades of work in giving image and voice to the indigenous peoples of Brazil. Aboriginal women like Phyllis Jack-Webstad, initiator of the orange sweater movement (Returning Home); those who organized the resistance at Standing Rock (We Are Unarmed; Powerlands); those who denounce intra-community sexual violence (Tysnaden in Sapmi) and feminicides (Flores de la llanura)..
Those who direct, such as Courtney Montour and Sonia Bonspille-Boileau, will each give a film lesson at the prestigious NFB, more specifically in the Alanis-Obomsawin Room. Incidentally, Incidentally, the Abenaki filmmaker, haloed with prestige, will also have films in the festival (including Bill Reid Remembes, Au Upstairs Jaxx Bar with David Amram)..
The fiction also presents combative figures such as Elder (El gran movimiento), as Virginio and Sisa (Utame); two Bolivian feature films noticed in the major international festivals and presented in Montreal premiere.
And other prodigies…
Prestigious awards will be presented on August 16th, including the Rigoberta Menchu Award; the same day, the new format of the magazine PANORAMA-Cinéma will be launched with an issue devoted to indigenous cinema; an international symposium, Regards autochtones sur les Amériques, will be held on the 15th and 16th.
Guests will come from all over the world: Maoris from Aotearoa, Kal’inas from French Guiana, Mi’gmaqs from Acadia, Wayu from Venezuela; exhibitions on Ste-Catherine Street (electronic works by Buffy Ste-Marie) and at the House of Sustainable Development (Parallel Paths).
In Kahnawake, a Haudenosaunee film program will be offered at Legion Hall on August 15 at 6 pm with films by Brooke Rice, Nicolas Renaud, Roxann Whitebean and Courtney Montour.
Continuous activities will be offered on the Place des festivals from August 10 to 15: songs and dances from the Mohawk tradition, the Tupiq ACT circus, drums from Guyana and here (Northern Voices, Buffalo Hat Singers), kiosks with exhibiting artists, etc.
The Jardins Gamelin will host lunchtime concerts starting August 4 with Corey Thomas and the Backwater Township Band, followed by Mi’kmaq singer/songwriter Esther Pennell on August 11th and Mack Mackenzie again on August 18th. And to end it all with grace and beauty, on the evening of August 18th, Mapuche musician and artist Akawui and Kawawachikamach Naskapi band Violent Ground will share the final stage.
At the Quai des Brumes, Tim Armstrong will perform a 5@7 show on Wednesday August 17th.
Finally, a surprise
Thanks to Vans, young Aboriginals will be able to learn how to skateboard: a ramp will be installed on the Promenade
des artistes during the festival. Vans is becoming an important sponsor through its involvement in this specific
project, which will grow over the years.
Some would say that it took a lot of hard work to make the modest event of thirty-two years ago grow into the great
festival it has become today. No relation to the Pope, of course.
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