Grammy award-winning artist Joanne Shenandoah will perform at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre (NACC) this weekend.
Shenandoah is a member of a member of the Wolf Clan of the Oneida Nation of the Haudenosaunee Six Nations Iroquois Confederacy.
Giving Indigenous artists a platform is a priority for NACC, said Marie Coderre, executive and artistic director at NACC.
“And one of the reasons that I’m bringing her is that I really really like having Indigenous artists from other places to have an exchange with the Indigenous people from here,” said Coderre. “She brings her own traditional music on stage and it’s different than the Dene, Metis and Inuvialuit culture and they have so much in common. So I think for the whole community in general… it will be a very special exchange, a sharing experience.”
Shenandoah has never been to the Yellowknife before, and she’s very excited to travel around the territory, said Coderre. The show will go through Fort Smith, Norman Wells, Inuvik, Yellowknife and Fort Simpson, respectively.
“So we’re covering the five regions with this tour,” said Coderre.
The Grammy award-winning artist has played around the world alongside artists like Neil Young and performed in front of leaders including the Dalai Lama, Nelson Mandela and Mikhail Gorbachev.
“She is one of the most celebrated Indigenous artists in the States, so it will be a treat to have her coming,” said Coderre.
Shenandoah’s music is a blend, ranging from traditional chants to contemporary ballads, and she sings in both English and Oneida.
People appreciate the authenticity of her music, Coderre said.
“And also it’s important because she preserves the traditions of her culture which is extremely important to have on a stage to understand more about,” she said, adding that the performance will be a learning experience.
Shenandoah has never been to the North before but her good friend singer-songwriter Thelma Cheecho lives in Yellowknife and will open the show on Saturday night, said Coderre.
“Thelma is an indie-folk singer-songwriter from the north of Ontario and she’s been living in Yellowknife for maybe four or five years now,” said Coderre.
It’s rare to have a Grammy award-winner in town she said.
“And having such a high-scale artist and an appreciated and celebrated artist coming up north I think it’s quite a treat,” said Coderre. “She’s a very interesting artist for sure.”