Iskwe puts on powerful performance at Woodland

BRANTFORD – As part of her 2017 Summer Tour, Singer and Songwriter Iskwe entered the stage at the Woodland Cultural Centre in the evening of Sunday, August 6 for her second visit to the Brantford location.

Just the night before she performed alongside Logan Staats — but this evening her show was collaborated with Kaha:wi Dance Theatres International Artists as part of the Creation Lab 2017 to showcase a concert full of culture.

“We’re happy to have [Iskwe] here,” said Gyeho Thomas, artistic associate at the Woodland Cultural Centre.

“The Woodland Cultural Centre was a stop on Iskwe’s summer tour,” she said. “So we were just happy to have her come through, because she was here for Coffee House back in March and we were glad that she wanted to come back for a visit.”

Thomas went on to explain that the dancers involvement in the concert helped to share even more culture in the Creation Lab 2017.

“[The Dancers] are exploring here at the Woodland Cultural Centre for the next two weeks, and they have artists all the way form Australia and New Zealand sharing their culture and sharing their stories with each other.”

The dancers performances included a Maori Haka and added a spark to the sense of power that would soon enter the stage. Derived from her own experiences as a woman of Dene, Cree, Metis and Irish decent, Iskwe’s powerful vocals filled the auditorium with mindful lyrics and sent chills in the crowd.

She described her feelings of coming to the centre to perform as “really nice” and “refreshing”.

“I was saying to somebody else earlier that we’ve played a few smaller venues recently and it felt really nice to be back here and in a space where I feel like when I’m sharing the stories and I can actually explain the songs a little bit more and its more personal, and like a conversation that’s ongoing instead of a rock concert kind of thing.”

Although she explained that she enjoys the rock concert-type performances, she also enjoys the intimacy of smaller venues such as the kind the centre provided.

If first looking at the poster for her concert, you’ll find that her face is painted with one side of her face wearing doll-like make up, and the other donning only indigenous inspired face-paint to represent two sides of expected female beauty and cultural appropriation. Iskwe explained that she uses her face as a canvas to make political statements and even bring notice to stigmas that affect indigenous women.

For this night, her face was painted in red and white and when asked about what got her into music she said: “I think that’s just always the way it was.”

“I went into dance, then I went into visual arts and I found my way back to music,” she said. “It started before I knew.”

She explained that her music evolved over time to focus on issues and experiences she has lived in her own life. This includes the impact of the death of Tina Fontaine in her home community in Winnipeg; which inspired a dedicated song to Murdered and Missing Indigenous women.

Her powerful voice along with the powerful performances of the Kaha:wi Dance Theatres International Artists made the night one to remember.



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