UPDATE! Check out this new blog post by Felix Mills from Soundstreams on this project.
The Story So Far
Odaabaanag is a collaboration between Jumblies and Soundstreams to develop and explore collaboration across community arts and contemporary music, as well as across cultures (Indigenous and Settler/Immigrant) and regions (Toronto, Northern Ontario). The project is proud to present two interconnected musical compositions by parent-child composer duo – Melody McKiver and Beverley McKiver.
How you can take part:
- Join our choir to sing the Odaabaanag songs: first rehearsal Sept. 12, 6 to 8pm, 132 Fort York Blvd. All experience levels welcome!
- Bring a workshop or presentation to your community group!
- Come to a performance: Nov. 30 or Dec. 1! Reservation info available soon.
- Contact email@example.com or call 416 203 8428 for more info on these options.
Our launchpad for the project was Steve Reich’s Different Trains, presented by Soundstreams in February 2019. Where Reich’s piece incorporates Holocaust survivor voices referencing his own Jewish heritage, Odaabaanag (meaning ‘trains’ in Ojibway), draws on the cultural memories of Melody and Beverley McKiver, and interviews conducted in their Anishenaabe family home of Obishikokaang, or Lac Seul First Nation. Their compositions so far include the words and voices of Garnet Angeconeb and Josephine King.
Melody’s piece, echoing the instrumentation of Different Trains, is for string quartet and recorded voices. Beverley is setting text from the interviews to a cycle of 3 songs for Jumblies’ mixed-ability choir, the Gather Round Singers, directed by Shifra Cooper.
Odaabaanag received a work-in-progress performance on May 5, 2019 at the Arts and Letters Club. We are now moving towards its performance, at Harbourfront Centre’s Brigantine Room, on Nov. 30th and Dec. 1st, in partnership with the Toronto Biennial. This performance will feature solo soprano Nicole Joy-Fraser.
For more info about the project you can also go to: https://soundstreams.ca/odaabaanag/
Odaabaanag is supported by the Ontario Trillium Foundation, Canadian Heritage, and the Socan Foundation.
March 4, 2019
THE WHOLENOTE: Musical Creation Through Community Engagement
(pdf version: Beat Columns (Live Music) | The WholeNote)
Blog Posts on Soundstreams Website
Odaabaanag and The Gather Round Singers
The Story So Far
Melody McKiver is an Anishinaabe (Lac Seul First Nation) violist and composer located in Sioux Lookout on Treaty #3 territory. They integrate contemporary electronics into rigorous Western classical musical training to shape Anishinaabe compositions for the new millennium. Melody’s December 2017 EP “Reckoning” is the score to Article 11’s theatre production of the same name, exploring the effects of Indian Residential Schools and the repercussions of the Truth and Reconciliation Committee. In addition to their solo practice, Melody is an in-demand collaborator and drummer, with many artists including Polaris Music Prize-winners Lido Pimienta and Jeremy Dutcher.
Beverley McKiver (Lac Seul First Nation – Anishinaabe) is a pianist, composer and storyteller currently living in Ottawa. She is a collaborative pianist and piano teacher and also directs the Knox Edwards United Church Choir. Her musical suite “Boozhoo Manoomin” was presented at the Weesageechak Begins to Dance developmental festival at Native Earth Performing Arts in November 2018. She participated in the inaugural Indigenous Classical Music Gathering held at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity in February 2019. Beverley believes that our understanding, relationships and health are strengthened by sharing music and stories.
String Quartet (for Melody McKiver’s Quartet):
Timothy Ying, violin
Aysel Taghi-Zada, violin
Kathleen Kajioka, viola
David Hetherington, cello
Musicians (for Beverley McKiver’s Song Cycle):
Nicole Joy-Fraser, soprano
Gather Round Singers
Shifra Cooper, Conductor
Daev Clysdale, piano
Melody McKiver, viola
Alejandra Nuñez, percussion
Guest Sioux Lookout singers/drummers:
Victor Lyon & Tom Chisel
Gather Round Singers
The Gather Round Singers is a roving community choir, founded and directed by Shifra Cooper, that creates and performs new musical works in collaboration with arts and community partners.choir is made up of mixed-ability, multi-aged singers, from around Toronto. We maintain core values of inclusion and access by eschewing auditions; learning music by ear; providing transportation, catering, cultural interpretation and childcare; using step-free venues, and welcoming new singers at any point of the process (up to and including the day of a performance!). The Gather Round Singers have performed many newly-commissioned works, including by Juliet Palmer, Jason Doell, Alex Eddington, Britta Johnson, Emilie LeBel, Cathy Nosaty, Alejandra Nunez, Binaeshee-Quae Couchie-Nabigon, Daev Clysdale, Rosary Spence, Martin van de Ven, and Lieke van de Voort.
Shifra is the founding conductor of The Gather Round Singers. She has ten years experience working as a community-engaged artist and choir conductor. She has worked on community arts projects in Toronto and across Canada, including with MABELLEarts, Jumblies, Vancouver Moving Theatre, Spence Neighbourhood Association, Making Room Community Arts, and The United Jewish People’s Order. Shifra has received a nomination for the Leslie Bell Prize for Choral Conducting (2016), and a Metcalf Performing Arts Internship (2017). She is currently pursuing a Masters of Teaching at OISE (University of Toronto).
Daev (pronounced Dave) Clysdale is a musician from Ottawa, now living in Toronto. Daev plays Irish traditional music on wooden flute, tin whistle, accordion and piano and has been playing, performing and composing music for over twenty years. Daev studied music at Carleton University, where he became the first person in Canada to earn a performance degree in tin whistle. In 2012, Daev competed and placed first on tin whistle and third in flute in the prestigious Midwest Fleadh Cheoil in Chicago.