The First Peoples' Festival's annual spotlight concert took place on June
19 at Le Lion d'Or stage and an encore performance was held June 20. An
all-star cast was present to celebrate Aboriginal music. Richard
Desjardins, Taima, Forestare, Brian Andre and Gilles Sioui all performed in
the intimate club setting.
Beloved son of Quebec and longtime friend of the festival, Richard
Desjardins, and his hand-picked Kanasuta musicians took the lead with a
dynamic acoustic 13-guitar overture to the concert. The best-of-the-best
guitar virtuosos made a striking impression led with the musical direction
of Norman Guilbeault.
Desjardins is considered Quebec's premier French-speaking artist and his
solo album, Kanasuta, has sold 70,000 copies. His combination of rock 'n'
roll, country, tango and blues brought down the house. Desjardins said he
had been playing classical piano since he was 9 years old and has been
performing professionally for 47 years He plans an upcoming European tour.
Taima is a widely used Inuktitut expression that means "Enough! It's over.
Let's move on ..." Taima's members Elisapie Isaac, Inuk from Nunavik who
now makes her home in Salluit and Alain Auger, a Quebecois from Abitibi,
use the name to symbolize an improvement in relations between Inuit and
Taima has been together since July 2000 and this past February they
released their first album. The group's hot pop/rock 'n' roll style is sure
to garner much attention as they become ever more widely known. Taima has
been invited to go on a European tour starting soon in Amsterdam.
Issac, 27, said that music came naturally to her as a child and because of
the small town atmosphere it was one of the few things that was hers alone.
"[A career in] music was not a choice that I made it, has always been
there. It came naturally to me. When I met Alain four or five years ago I
really decided that is what I wanted to do," Issac said in an interview
with Indian Country Today.
Issac said she was adopted and that her family never pushed her toward
music but they always gave her encouragement, never imposing, but always
encouraging. Her biological family all have musical tendencies and the
first time she ever appeared on stage was as a backup singer with her
uncle's band which is well known locally and had been together since the
Thirty-two year old Auger is a trained guitarist and composer. He was
attracted by Issac's style as a co-creator - an accomplice who would
understand his goals. "I think my intuitive side and Alain's talent and
more musical background makes it [their musical style] more real," said
In a dramatic conclusion to the concert Issac sang lead with Desjardin on
one of his most popular songs - a creation story myth about the crossing of
the Bering Strait. Issac said they had only practiced the song twice
before. "I don't think I had ever worked so hard to pronounce these words
to tell the story and to really push myself to feel it because it is such a
big song. It is his masterpiece," said Issac.
The crowd was overcome by the strong emotional moment and gave a long
standing ovation to these wonderful First Nations' performers.