Indigenous artists to be highlighted at festival

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Under the auspices of the pro series and the School of Music, the Brandon University Indigenous New Music Festival will take place from Monday, February 10 to Wednesday, February 12. This year’s lineup includes two guest artists-in-residence—Juno Award–nominated Cree ‘cellist and composer Cris Derksen, Anishinaabe violist, media artist, grass dancer, and arts educator Melody McKiver—along with Métis composer Ian Cusson, Anishinaabe pianist and composer Beverley McKiver, the Sweet Medicine Singers, Jingle Dancer Shawntea Wilson, BU Knowledge Keeper Barb Blind, and other musical guests.

“When I was exploring the possibilities for this edition of the Festival, I was guided by the notion of building intercultural understanding, partnerships and mutual respect through concerts, workshops, and presentations,” said pianist Megumi Masaki, the Festival’s curator as well as the director of the Brandon University New Music Ensemble (BUNME). “Many talented, visionary performers will converge upon the Lorne Watson Recital Hall stage to share their insights, to broaden perspectives, and to make connections with Brandon audiences. It is my great pleasure to invite all music enthusiasts to join us for this musical journey.”

The Festival’s multi-faceted programmes include:


  • Monday, February 10, at 11:40 a.m., in Room 2-02, with Derksen and McKiver;
  • Tuesday, February 11, at 12:40 p.m., in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall: How Indigenous Cultures Intersects with New Music hosted by Prof. Cathy Mattes.


  • Tuesday, February 11, at 7:30 p.m., featuring the Sweet Medicine Singers, Shawntea Wilson, Cris Derksen, Melody McKiver, the BUNME, soprano Sarah Hall, flutist Nancy Hennen, ‘cellist Laura Jacyna, and pianist Megumi Masaki;
  • Wednesday, February 12, at 7:30 p.m., featuring the Sweet Medicine Singers, Shawntea Wilson, ‘cellist Cris Derksen, violist Melody McKiver, BUNME under the direction of Megumi Masaki, and Andrée Dagenais conducting the BU Chorale.

“Our two featured guests – Cris Derksen and Melody McKiver – will take part in all of the events during the three-day festival,” Masaki said. “Cris has established herself as an artist who ‘braids the traditional with the contemporary… performed with an array of impressive musicians such as Buffy Sainte Marie, Tanya Tagaq, and Kanye West,’ while Melody is a proponent of ‘the movement turning critical eyes towards the realities of colonization on Turtle Island.’ I really look forward to collaborating with both of them along with all of the festival performers.”

Admission to all Brandon University Indigenous New Music Festival events is free and everyone is welcome. Both evening concerts will take place in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall, located in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building, at Brandon University.

The next pro series concert will take place on Tuesday, February 25, 2020, at 7:30 p.m., featuring Les voix humaines, a viola da gamba ensemble from Montreal. This performance will also be held in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall. University. Tickets are $20 for adults and $15 for students, seniors and alumni, and are available at the door or in advance in the Main Office in the School of Music.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant through Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For an up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit


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