By Clint Buehler
Back to Batoche is the annual event at this historic site of the final battle of the 1885 Riel Resistance where events celebrate everything Metis.
This year, it began with the release of a new cd, including a new shorter version of “Proud to be Metis – The Metis Nation Anthem.” intended as a tribute on the 125th anniversary of the North West Resistance and the “Year of the Metis,” performed by Andrea Menard and Donny Parenteau.
The new “Tribute” lyrics were written by Menard, Parenteau, Karon Shmon and the lyricist for the original version, Clint Buehler. The new version retains the original music composed by Dennis Charney.
The original version was written and first recorded in 1991.
The new cd includes solo and duet performances by Menard and Parenteau of both the original and the shorter “tribute” versions of the anthem, as well as instrumental “karaoke” versions for those who wish to sing the anthem themselves.
The project was initiated by Shmon, coordinator of the Publishing Department at the Gabriel Dumont Institute in Saskatoon.
Says Shmon, the cd “is being released in 2010, the Year of the Metis and the 125th anniversary of the North West Resistance, as a tribute to our ancestors to whom we owe an immeasurable amount of gratitude. Because of their strength and commitment, we are proud to be Metis.”
Clint Buehler is a veteran journalist, educator and administrator who has spent forty years of his fifty-year career working with Métis and First Nations people and organizations, including five years as Executive Director of the Métis Nation of Alberta. Says Shmon, “His thoughtful lyrics on the original Proud to Be Métis, written with Dennis Charney, touch the Métis heart whenever it is played. His creativity and energy on the recent collaboration of the shorter version make it extra special.” Clint Buehler has been a regular contributor to First Nations Drum for the past several years.
Dennis Charney is a prolific songwriter who has been recognized by the Alberta Recording Industries Association with the Award of Distinction in 1996 and again in 1997 with the award for Alberta Entertainment Writer of the Year. He is recognized by his peers as a force on the music scene. Métis across the homeland appreciate his talent, particularly on the collaboration with Clint Buehler, on Proud to Be Métis, now acknowledged as the Métis National Anthem.
Andrea Menard is an award-winning singer, actor and writer. Her hit one-woman jazz musical, The Velvet Devil, received acclaim and awards across Canada and has been made into both a CD and television drama. Her creativity sparkles with her latest CD, Sparkle, also the theme for her forthcoming television special. Whether she is performing at fundraising concerts, performing before prominent dignitaries, or making an indelible screen presence, Menard’s talent and charisma is unforgettable.
Donny Parenteau is one of Canada’s most versatile and dynamic country music singer-songwriters. A seasoned entertainer who has performed with numerous country legends, Donny has honed his superior vocal skills in a variety of genres including country classics, blues and easy rock. Donny has garnered numerous provincial and national music nominations and awards including a 2008 Juno nomination for Aboriginal Recording of the Year. He is indeed a genuine and rare all-around musical artist. 74