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BELLEVILLE, ONT: May 20, 2021: Local musician and sculptor David R. Maracle will be part of the 50th annual JUNO Awards ceremony to be broadcast nationwide on Sunday June 6, 2021. [EDIT: Maracle will be performing at the CARAS Honouring Ceremony for Indigenous JUNO Nominees on June 2 from 2:00 pm to 3:00 pm ET.]
This year’s 225 nominations include artists such as The Weeknd, Jessie Reyez, JP Saxe and Justin Bieber.
Maracle, member of the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory, recorded two songs for the JUNO ceremonies that celebrate Canadian musical artists and bands: “For the opening I chose my words to convey an inspirational message and the musical compilation that I performed was entitled ‘Lifeblood of Mother Earth.’ The reason being is the importance of our water as our first medicines given to us as humans,” says Maracle. “I also wanted to ensure that I acknowledged the traditional Indigenous peoples of Turtle Island, which encompasses all of our great land of North America.”
Continues Maracle: “For the closing ceremony I wanted to convey a message of perseverance and to stay strong, and send prayers to everyone on Mother Earth in peace and love. The title track I chose was from my Spirit World: Universal Meditations album, entitled ‘Spirit Dreams,’ because it encompassed several world fusion instruments that represented the four directions of our planet: the Medicine wheel.”
Maracle recorded his performance at the Empire Theatre in Belleville, Ont., a 700-seat vintage 1938 theatre showcasing independent films and live performances, including music festivals.
“The Empire Theatre is proud to have participated in the video/recording of David’s inspiring performance. While the last 14 months have been a challenging time for all venues, The Empire Theatre immediately pivoted to a live streaming/video production facility presenting more than 65 presentations since August 2020,” says Mark Rashotte, owner of The Empire Theatre. “Capturing David’s presentation has definitely been one of the Empire’s highlights of the last year.”
The stage at The Empire Theatre was designed carefully and intentionally. Two red dresses were placed as an important “frame” for the stage: to honour the MMIWG, Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls, and to never forget them and their families. The Buffalo skull sculpture is of a special series entitled “Brothers Forever.”
Made from Buffalo skull, horse tail, bear fur, deer skin, a hawks talon, copper, glass and clay beads, stone, moose and deer rib, “It signifies how our Indigenous peoples of the past relied on the Buffalo for survival,” says Maracle. “The sculpture conveys the message of unity between the two…It also conveys as we are enduring a global pandemic, we are all in this together as a whole.”
The performance was made possible by a group of local arts supporters, led by the Quinte Arts Council (QAC). Says Executive Director Janet Jarrell: “When David and Kimber Lee [Maracle’s wife] came to us about this amazing news and opportunity, we quickly reached out to Mark Rashotte of the Empire Theatre. We knew from their Music CIty Mondays that the Empire had the equipment, technology and infrastructure in place to make this a reality. We also turned to Dug Stevenson and the Bay of Quinte Regional Marketing team who immediately provided their support. Community leaders like this who believe in and support our incredible local talent are elevating the Bay of Quinte area and that is being recognized on a national scale. The QAC is proud to be a part of making this happen for the Maracles and look forward to seeing them at the JUNOs.”
In addition to thanking Jarrell, Rashotte, and Stevenson for coming together in 24 hours to support him in this project, Maracle adds: “I would like to acknowledge the faith keepers, the traditional knowledge keepers and elders across Turtle Island, Mother Earth, that sustains our life. I would like to acknowledge all the artists and musicians that are going through such a hard time during this pandemic.”
Adds Maracle: “Also a big Niawenkowa/many thanks to Kim Wheatley, the Indigenous liaison who reached out to me to be involved in this wonderful opportunity. And to the frontline workers – a big thank you for all you are doing to keep us safe, helping us get through these difficult times. Stay positive, be kind, stay strong.”
About David R Maracle: David R Maracle (Tehenneia’kwe:tarons) of the Bear Clan was born the seventh son for Andrew C. Maracle (Mohawk, Turtle Clan) and Lillian J. Maracle (Scottish, Bruce Clan) and lived his first 12 years of life on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve. David, like his father, chose the Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory to be his home, and it has been for over 35 years.
Musical accolades include: CAMA multi-award winner for various categories, two gold records globally for the album “Spirit Flutes”; winner of the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Awards for Best Instrumental Album 2007; performances for the Queen for her Jubilee, the opening of the Sydney Olympic Games 2000 and in concert in Barbados with Tim Rice (LION KING, PHANTOM OF THE OPERA). David has been involved with numerous commercials and television scores, and has been dubbed “the mood master” by many of his fellow musicians. More at davidrmaracle.com
David R. Maracle