Inuvik musician Abe Drennan is hoping the Mackenzie Delta can help elevate his song ‘Spirits Soared’ to the top 100 of CBC’s Searchlight 2020 contest — which would help a non-profit which assists survivors of trauma access the arts.

Drennan is one of three NWT residents in the Canada-wide competition, alongside Yellowknife musicians Nathan Knox and Andrea Bettger. But the song Drennan chose to enter the contest extends much further than the Northwest Territories.

Spirits Soared is a tribute to a family of four, three children and their grandfather, who were killed by a drunk driver in 2015.

“This is a tragedy so huge and I had a personal connection to the family, so I wanted to reach out to them and do what I can to help heal, and the only way I know how to do that is through my music,” he said. “I had other songs I could have submitted, but this just kept coming back to me as the right thing to do. We need to bring more attention to the issue and because it’s set up the way it is it can help the family and the non-profit further their work.

All proceeds from the song’s downloads go to the non-profit set up in the family’s memory — Many Hands Doing Good. The non-profit itself seeks to help individuals who have suffered life-altering trauma to reconnect with the arts, however they are able too.

“The kids loved the arts, dance and music,” said Drennan. “And the grandfather was passionate about radio broadcasting, so they set up a scholarship in his memory.”

In spite of its Canada-wide reach, the song has an Inuvik connection to. It was recorded at the Igloo Church as part of Drennan’s “Iglu Sessions” album.

Now he’s just crossing his fingers that he gets enough votes to make the top 100 after the first round of voting closes Feb. 19. That would give the song national-level exposure, which could potentially result in more revenue for Many Hands Doing Good.

“If Spirits Soared could get into the top 100, that’s great,” said Drennan. “It would provide the song more exposure, get a bit more recognition for the issue and more support for the charity. That would be awesome.”

Currently on parental leave, Drennan said he’s mainly focusing on his newborn child, but the music is still burning deep in his soul. He notes he’s been watching the affairs of the world and feels a song brewing.

“I’ve been really inspired by the climate movement and inspired by all the unrest in the world right now. That’s what always draws me in as an artist, when I feel strongly about something I have to grapple with that and it usually comes out in a song,” he said. “I think there’s lots of room for protest songs and to try to understand all the issues that are going on right now, namely what’s going on in B.C. and the pipeline project and the Wet’suwet’en Nation.

“The issue of colonization is still perpetuating itself in so many ways. I think as a descendant of the colonizers, one of my roles is to try to deconstruct that colonial thinking. Music is a powerful platform to do that.”

Anyone interested in voting can do so at



Eric Bowling

A lover of knowledge and adventure, Eric Bowling jumped at the opportunity to write for the Inuvik Drum and to see the world from a totally different vantage point. He has covered just about everything...

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published.