COMING TO THE FIRE: 14th Annual Talking Stick Festival

Gather Round the Fire of Inspiration & Imagination

The fire is a primal symbol that ignites dreams, hopes, and wishes of a community. This symbol is an invitation for all to come to the fire, to gather and feast on the creative works and artistic wealth of Aboriginal arts and artists at the 14th annual Talking Stick Festival presented by Full Circle First Nations Performance. This year’s festival takes place in venues throughout the city from February 17 – March 1, 2015 with national and international artists.

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The festival provides an opportunity for Aboriginal people to share their stories and talents that encompass all areas of the performing arts from theatre, dance, drumming, and music to spoken word and multimedia performances. The artistic disciplines celebrate and honour the traditional Aboriginal culture and heritage and showcase the new evolving contemporary work of today’s artists.

“This years’ festival is not only an opportunity to gather and be together to experience the works of artists but also is a place to reflect on the past successes, discuss challenges, and to share hopes, dreams, and ideas to ensure the future is bright and burning with the energies of all our efforts,” stated Margo Kane, Artistic Managing Director.

On the music front, the festival is thrilled to have fearless and dynamic throat singer Tanya Tagaq performing at the York Theatre on Saturday February 28. Now Magazine deemed Tanya Tagaq’s concert at Toronto’s Great Hall the best concert of 2014, and CBC Music listed her hit album Animism at #2 among their 30 best Canadian albums of the year. Powerful and electrifying, don’t miss the opportunity to experience this incredible talent. Also performing the same evening is passionate singer/songwriter and soulful performer Leela Gilday. She has numerous awards, including a Juno, two Western Canadian Music Awards, and Aboriginal Female Entertainer of the Year, to name a few. Leela is from Yellowknife, NT with a voice that comes straight from the heart. Definitely a not-to-be-missed concert!

Generations will be another musical evening of emerging and contemporary musicians performing at the York Theatre on February 26, curated by Suzette Amaya. One of the featured artists is K.A.S.P., who is well known for his collaborations with DMC of the legendary RUN DMC, Moka Only, Chino XL and recently with Toronto’s Choclair. K.A.S.P’s focus has shifted his music to a whole new level, and he shares it with youth to motivate them to persevere no matter what happens in life. Originally from East Vancouver, his songs tell a story of his struggle and success in dedicating his life to his family, his community, and his people to show the youth that there is hope for a better today and brighter tomorrow.

The Roundhouse Community Centre will be the home for visual arts exhibition, the Contemporary Dance series and drama. For a theatrical experience, the festival is proud to present the hilarious and moving play Salt Baby, written by Falen Johnson and directed by Yvette Nolan. It is a comedy that explores what it means to look white but have Native ancestry, being invisibly ethnic raising questions about how we expect Aboriginal people to look.

To acknowledge a special friend to the Talking Stick Festival, there will be an evening of slam poetry dedicated to honouring spoken word poet Zaccheus Jackson, who died tragically last year. Jackson, a member of the Blackfoot nation, was born in Alberta and eventually ended up living in East Vancouver, where his drug addiction took hold and where he found a way to beat it. He performed at the festival a number of times and rose to prominence through spirited performances and incisive wordplay both personal and political, delivered with characteristic lighting quickness.

Again this year, the hugely successful and popular Workshops in Schools Series and the Professional Development Series will continue, nurturing future artists in the Aboriginal community.

Come to the Fire and experience a dynamic festival not to be missed: rich in all forms of the arts. For a full list of all performers and events visit Talking Stick Festival.

Tickets and festival passes are available with ticket ranging from $12 – $40, as well as Pay What You Can performances.