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Saturday, January 7, 2012

Music Review-Diverse As This Land Volume II

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Music Review: Diverse As This Land Volume II
By: Christine McFarlane

The "Diverse As This Land Volume II" music compilation is part of a Banff Centre project that explores how land shapes vocal and cultural expression and reveals the dynamic spectrum of Indigenous music today. The nature of land and the diversity within Aboriginal cultures is the inspiration behind “Diverse As This Land,” a seven-year music project envisioned by Sandra Laronde, director of Aboriginal Arts at The Banff Centre.

This cd is aptly titled “Diverse As This Land-Volume II” because it features the vocals of various Indigenous artists. Artists include George Leach, a Canadian musician and actor. A Sta'atl'mix from Lillooet, British Columbia  who released his debut album "Just Where I'm At" in 2000 and has subsequently performed at the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards. Altai Khangai, an Indigenous group from Mongolia, Pura Fe with Cary Morin, who is a singer- songwriter, poet, musician and social activist, who created the first Native women's a cappella trio Ulali, and who (Pura Fe) I had the honour of interviewing for the December 2011 issue of the Native Canadian and M'Girl (pronounced ma-girl), an Aboriginal Women's Ensemble founded by Renae Morriseau in 2004 and features a cadre of talented women from a variety of First Nations (Saulteaux, Anishnabe, Tahltan, Dene, Salish) all residing in the Greater Vancouver Area. 

From the slow melodic tunes of George Leach, an almost hypnotic quick rhythm of Altai Khangai, the folk blues music of Pura Fe and Cary Morin, to the upbeat tempo of music and the comforting sound of the hand drums accompanying M'Girl,  I especially enjoyed the song "Kitaskinanaw."  With this song, M'Girl sings about the land and what it means to them.

"This land is my land
This land is your land
From Bonavista
to Vancouver Island
from the Arctic Circle
to the Great Lake waters
This land was made for you and me"

The “Diverse As This Land-Volume II" gives listeners a diverse range of music to listen to and enjoy. The compilation is produced by Aboriginal Arts and Music and Sound, at the Banff Centre. The recording was made possible through the assistance of Canada Council for the Arts, and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts. Please visit for more information about this music compilation. 

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