Published on March 26, 2014 by Amy
Iskwew Singers create and perform songs in the plains tradition of Canada’s Cree Nation. Their voices weave a sonic dance in celebration of songs that tell stories of the connection to the earth, the creator and one another. The heartbeat of Mother Earth is heard through their drums, underscoring a message of community and culture from a people who have survived the impacts of colonization. Sandy Scofield, Fara Palmer and Andrea Menard each descend from a long line of singers. Each with active careers in other forms of music and the arts, through Iskwew these powerful singers bring the songs and sounds of their rich and vibrant culture to the ears of the world. Ikswew has performed festivals, concerts and First People’s conferences throughout Canada. In August 2012, they were part of the line-up for Lunenburg Folk Harbour’s annual folk festival in Lunenburg, Nova Scotia.
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Internationally, they have performed at the 2012 Yoreme Festival in various locations throughout Sinaloa Mexico, the 2011 Rainforest International World Music Festival in Borneo, Malaysia, the Ollin Kan International World Music Festival in Mexico City, 2009, and the First Peoples International Festival in France, 2006.
They wear traditional clothing and play handdrums and rattles; each song is a story and these stories are told. Not wanting to leave audiences in their seats, they engage them in a final ‘friendship round dance’ before their show is over.
ANDREA MENARD, a multi-talented Cree/Métis actor, singer/songwriter and screenwriter, is a gifted performer. With a voice that chills your spine, she dazzles on stage and screen, bringing audiences to tears. Her voice is lyrical, raw, and reminiscent of the jazz and blues singers of the 1940′s, yet she captures the simplicity of the great folk artists. Andrea is a versatile, powerhouse, and has released three award-winning albums: The Velvet Devil; and Simple Steps as well as her new CD, Sparkle.
FARA PALMER is a multiple award-winning Cree singer with three CD’s under her belt. Blessed with a love of music and a powerful set of pipes, she has been acknowledged as a powerhouse vocalist, a heart and soul inspired songwriter, role model and a dedicated workshop presenter. Fara has performed for audiences across North America and has been a prominent entertainer on the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards performing a total of eight times on the award show alone. Fara’s passion is writing songs that promote empowerment and songs that reach the heart! Delving fearlessly into social/personal issues that are a part of today’s reality, Fara uses her voice and her lyrics as a catalyst for positive change, as a tool to promote self-awareness, and as a means of educating and sharing with the public her First Nations culture and history.
SANDY SCOFIELD is a Métis musician and composer of Cree & Saulteau descent. She has performed on five continents and has received multiple awards for her four CD’s. She is the founder of Iskwew Singers and solo shows, band performance and Iskwew gigs, she has performed at major national and international events and festivals. The highlight of her composition commissions is the Aboriginal Welcoming Song for the 2010 Olympic Opening Ceremonies in Vancouver. She has just completed the original score for Teach Magazine’s educational graphic novel, The Ruptured Sky: The War of 1812 based on the role of First Nations’ participation in that war and from that perspective. Sandy holds a Bachelor degree in Music Composition and Electroacoutic music; she also studied African Music at the University of Ghana in West Africa and played in Simon Fraser University’s Gamelan Orchestra for three years.