iskwē

iskwē

iskwē

LEAD VOCALIST

iskwē | ᐃᐢᑫᐧᐤ (short for waseskwan iskwew, meaning “blue sky woman”) is, among many other things, an artist – a creator and communicator of music and of movement, of pictures, poetry and prose. And through it all, she’s a teller of stories that have impacted our past and will inform our future.

The Stars is iskwē’s newest release (March 5, 2021). It is the inverse of her third album acākosīk starting with the title which is the English translation of the Cree word acākosīk. Where acākosīk is a blaze of sonic exploration, The Stars is an elegant and intimate sharing of the collection allowing iskwē’s songwriting, voice and spirit to shine. The Stars features entirely new arrangements of the six songs with iskwē accompanied by a trio of piano (Michael Shand), cello (Mariel Gonzalez), and violin (Laura C Bates) recorded live-off-the-floor at Revolution Recording in Toronto and a dramatic orchestral reimagining of “Night Danger (Lovers Mix)” recorded with the FILMharmonic Orchestra (Prague). Where acākosīk demanded our attention, The Stars invites us into an emotional and soulful experience with iskwē.

acākosīk, (November 9, 2019), is a sonic exploration that not only blurs lines between sources and styles, but also between the actual and the ideal, the real and imagined. But by extension, it’s also the star around which immersive worlds of live performance, video, and visual art revolve. acākosīk has received critical praise: the video for “Little Star” garnered a JUNO Award for Music Video of the Year in 2020, the album was nominated for a JUNO Award for Adult Alternative Album of the Year, and “Breaking Down” was nominated for a Prism Prize and the SOCAN Songwriting Prize.

The songs on acākosīk and The Stars are meant to raise awareness of systemic abuses and societal opinions and the way we’ve been perceived and treated, but also to celebrate our culture and help bridge that gap – to help us find empathy and common ground and connect the way we’re supposed to as people, regardless of race or religion or background,” she shares. “A lot of these issues, while they stem from my experiences and those of my people, are really universally human issues.”

iskwē’s album The Fight Within (2017) was JUNO-nominated for Indigenous Music Album of the Year (2018) and garnered her a spot on the Polaris Long List.

iskwē’s message is arguably most impactful when delivered from the stage, where it’s not uncommon for people to leave in entranced contemplation or even in tears. Music merges with dance, multimedia, and more in a completely engulfing and cathartic experience – one meant to bring people together and celebrate that which unites over that which divides.

She has performed hundreds of shows in Canada and internationally, including Canadian highlights at Ottawa’s Parliament Hill and a triumphant performance with Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, in New York City at the Met and SummerStage in Central Park, and beyond for the King and Queen of Sweden, Reeperbahn in Germany, and Border Crossing’s Origins Festival in England. iskwē is an ambassador and program participant for the PRS Keychange initiative.

iskwē is Cree Métis from Treaty One Territory. She was born and raised in Winnipeg, Manitoba, Canada. She is an urban Indigenous two-spirited woman from the Red River Valley, the birthplace of the Métis Nation.

iskwē is pronounced iss-kway
acākosīk is pronounced acha-ko-suk

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Tom Wilson

Tom Wilson

TOM WILSON

LEAD VOCALIST, GUITAR

Tom Wilson is a Canadian music legend, famed storyteller and visual artist. Wilson’s memoir, Beautiful Scars published by Penguin/Random House has become a national bestseller. In his memoir, Wilson reveals the impact of discovering his indigenous heritage. Musically, Wilson is best known for his work with Blackie & The Rodeo Kings and Lee Harvey Osmond, the latter receiving a 2020 Juno Award for the album “Mohawk.

In 1989 Wilson became the founder of the popular rock band Junkhouse.The band quickly grew in popularity and in 1993 signed a recording contract with Sony Music Canada. Lead by Wilson, Junkhouse skyrocketed in the 90’s, producing three albums, Strays, Birthday Boy and Fuzz, before disbanding. The style and success of Junkhouse has been an inspiration to many young Hamilton artists. Wilson recorded his first solo album Planet Love (2001) for Sony Music.

It was also during this time that Wilson starting dedicating more of his time and energy to his second passion, painting, “I needed an outlet besides writing music and there is a great meditative bond I found between me and the canvas”. His art show “Beautiful Scars: Mohawk Warriors, Hunters and Chiefs” premiered at the Art Gallery of Burlington and his work “The Mystic Highway” was commissioned by the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences for a 30’ x 30’ reproduction legacy piece adorning John Street in Hamilton.The painting pays homage to the rich history of Hamilton musicians and performers from past.

In 1999, as a result of their shared love and admiration for one of Canada’s great musical treasures, the late Willie P. Bennett , Wilson along with Stephen Fearing and Colin Linden formed what would soon become the highly acclaimed roots music supergroup Blackie and the Rodeo Kings.

The Rodeo Kings have produced ten albums and have toured throughout North America and Europe. While Wilson created solo albums, Planet Love and Dog Years (2006) , it was with his collaboration with producer and Cowboys Junkies founder Michael Timmins that he found and settled into a new voice . The result is Wilson’s genre defining, alter personae Lee Harvey Osmond. “Acid folk” was born in an old garage off Clinton Avenue in Toronto. With Timmins production and Wilson’s baritone, LHO has become the soundtrack and the voice for the art of Tom Wilson.

In 2017 Wilson released his highly anticipated memoir through Penguin/ Random House/Doubleday Publishing. In the memoir, Wilson offers a profoundly moving and humorous look at family, his hometown and identity after a chance encounter with a stranger caused him to question everything he had always known about his past.

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Joel Quarrington

Joel Quarrington

Joel Quarrington

DOUBLE-BASS

For over thirty years, Joel Quarrington has served as the Principal Double Bassist of many ensembles including the Canadian Opera Company, the Toronto Symphony, Canada’s National Arts Centre Orchestra, and the London Symphony Orchestra.
Born in Toronto, Joel began his formal studies of the double bass when he was thirteen. He won the Geneva International Competition and the CBC Talent Competition.
A devoted teacher, Joel is a professor at the Conservatoire de Musique of Montreal and is appointed at the Royal Academy of Music in London as a “Visiting Artist”. Besides being a guest teacher at schools all around the world he holds annual masterclasses in the summers at Quebec’s Orford Arts Centre.

Joel has made several solo recordings, which have won both the prestigious JUNO and Opus Prizes. From the International Society of Bassists, Joel has received a Special Recognition Award for Outstanding Solo Performance and for Outstanding Orchestral Performance. He performs on an Italian bass made in 1666 by the Italian master, Santo Paolo Maggini.

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Eric Cadesky

Eric Cadesky

Eric Cadesky

INSTRUMENT MAKER

Eric Cadesky has been fascinated by musical instruments and taking them apart since he was young. Eventually he learned how to put most of them back together. In doing so discovered his passion for designing and building non-traditional music instruments. For the past 43 years he has been building instruments made of glass for the Glass Orchestra, a quartet who have performed locally and around the globe. He is a composer for film, tv, modern dance and ballet and his music has been nominated for numerous awards, recently receiving Best Music Award for his score for the dance film Bears, Stars and Trees. He believes in giving back to the community through workshops, residencies and mentoring. He is very happy to be working with the wonderful team of the Collingwood Music Festival!
Collingwood Music Festival
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L9Y 4W3
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Marcus Ali

Marcus Ali

Marcus Ali

SAXOPHONE

Marcus Ali was born in Toronto to Trinidadian parents with a love of great music. A versatile musician who is equally at home in a wide range of genres, he has played on more than seventy albums on a variety of woodwinds (saxophones, flutes, clarinets, West African flutes, tin whistles). He has performed, toured and recorded with dozens of artists including Grand Prix de Jazz award winner Nick Ali and Cruzao, Juno nominees Matt Dusk, Jason Wilson, Mr Something Something, and Tomson Highway. He has toured extensively across Canada as well as throughout the US, the UK, the Caribbean and Japan. Marcus has also been the saxophone instructor and jazz combo director at Claude Watson School for the Arts since 2004. He teaches private woodwind lessons and regularly leads workshops and sectionals throughout the GTA.
Collingwood Music Festival
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L9Y 4W3
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