Winnipeg’s West End Cultural Centre will be the place to be this week to catch a concert by Buffy Sainte-Marie, presented by the Winnipeg Folk Festival, on Tuesday, March 4.
The always popular Buffy Sainte-Marie is an Academy Award winner and Winnipeg Folk Festival Artistic Achievement Award recipient, with an audacious attitude to life on and off the stage that has inspired people around the world for over four decades.
Not one to rest on her accomplishments, Buffy Sainte-Marie has never stopped channelling her infinite musical and artistic creativity. As one of the most spellbinding artists of our time, Buffy Sainte-Marie gracefully combines a high energy stage presence with cerebral songs that tell powerful stories. This rare and primal blend is a welcome joy to festivals and concert halls around the world.
Her 2009 album, Running for the Drum, an action-packed collection of powwow rock, house remix, rockabilly and big love songs, was a hit with audiences and critics right from the start.
“A really wild, ear opening set for those that aren’t afraid to take the chance on something that rocks the boat against complacency and does it without a cudgel” is how Midwest Records describes it.
Passionate as ever, Buffy Sainte-Marie uses her latest songs to cover an extensive array of commanding themes, including great loves and protest against environmental greed. Running for the Drum has garnered twelve major music awards in Canada, including a Juno Award, an Aboriginal’s People Choice Music Award and an induction into the Canadian Country Music Hall of Fame.
In the early ’60s, Buffy Sainte-Marie hit the ground running after the beatniks and before the hippies. All alone she toured North America’s colleges, reservations and concert halls, meeting both significant acclaim and huge misperception from audiences and record companies who expected Pocahontas in fringes, and instead were both entertained and educated with their initial dose of Native American reality in the first person.
Since her first concert tours, Buffy Sainte-Marie has continued to grow her music in parallel with a remarkably diverse life of esteemed awards, political blacklisting, education, and fun. As one of the most singular artists of our time, she has created 17 albums of her music, three of her own television specials, spent five years on Sesame Street, scored movies, raised a son, earned a Ph.D. in Fine Arts, taught Digital Music as adjunct professor at several colleges and won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award Oscar for the song, ‘Up Where We Belong‘.
This multifaceted singer-songwriter was oblivious to the genre police whose boundaries were forcibly eradicated when this so-called ‘folk singer’ showed up with songs that would become ingrained in music history. Described as “one of the most successful and versatile songwriters of the last half-century” (The Guardian), Buffy Sainte-Marie’s international hit ‘Until It’s Time for You to Go’ was recorded by Elvis Presley, Bobby Darin, Barbara Streisand and Cher; and ‘Universal Soldier’ became the anthem of the peace movement.
Lauded for her stunning live performances, Buffy Sainte-Marie’s concert set list these days includes not only the classics, but also surprises that will win over even diehard fans with its edgy energy, “… whether raising the roof with ‘No No Keshagesh’, breaking our hearts with ‘Bury My Heart At Wounded Knee’ or punching the mic for the rhythm of ‘Relocation Blues’, Sainte-Marie herself was magnificent.” (Telegraph Journal).
Available in tandem with Running for the Drum is Buffy Sainte-Marie: A Multimedia Life, an award-winning DVD, which offers fans a rare glimpse into her life and will help to fill in the gaps for those who lost track of her after the Johnson-Nixon suppression of her career. “The life, the career and the personality of an effervescent medicine woman are all beautifully caught” (Maverick Magazine). Since the release, this documentary has taken on a life of its own at film festivals across North America and Europe.
Buffy Sainte-Marie virtually invented the role of Native American international activist pop star. Her concern for protecting indigenous intellectual property and her distaste for the exploitation of Native American artists and performers have kept her in the forefront of activism in the arts for forty years. Presently she operates the Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education through which the Cradleboard Teaching Project serves children and teachers throughout North America.
Tickets are still available at Ticketmaster and Winnipeg Folk Festival Music Store for Buffy Sainte-Marie performing at the West End Cultural Centre, on Tuesday evening, with guests The Fugitives, doors open at 7:15 pm with the show starting at 8:00 pm.
Photo and info courtesy of Winnipeg Folk Festival