Skookum Sound System promises to take you on a unique, danceable journey through First Nations culture this weekend, making its Victoria debut with two shows at two local venues.
The four-member audio-visual collective will be in Victoria to take part in Two Worlds: Indigenous Media and Performance Festival at the Royal BC Museum Jan. 26 and 27. The festival celebrates the meeting of tradition and technology through the works of First Nations artists.
Fronted by singer Csetkwe (Meaghan Fortier), Skookum Sound System has a team of DJs/producers (Deano [Dean Hunt] and Impossible Nothing), accompanied by video artist Amphibian 14 (Braken Hanuse Corlett) presenting a “Skookum” light show that projects images of beautiful First Nations artwork on the walls of their performance spaces.
Skookum Sound System was birthed when DJ Deano was asked to spin at the inaugural Vancouver Indigenous Media Arts Festival. He approached the other members suggesting they appear together. That was almost two years ago and the System is enthusiastically looking forward to a schedule that will see it perform around B.C. this year and lead workshops with youth on how to create and record electronic music.
Working with youth is something Dean never thought of doing until they were asked. He says he is looking forward to the opportunity and hopes to inspire First Nations youth in a positive way.
If you listen carefully, you may recognize the sounds of nature expertly dropped on a track — a raven, an eagle or even crickets add to the finished product. It is when creating music that DJ Deano feels the influence of his ancestors the most — almost as if they are giving him a nod of approval. His DJ mixes are a blend of contemporary mainstream music complementing traditional aboriginal voices and drums. These soundscapes, he says, can start off with “a little trip hop, peppered with some big bass then amped up to a dance sound.”
Chris O’Connor, the schools and family team leader at the Royal BC Museum, sees the festival as an opportunity to “highlight the vibrancy of The First Peoples Gallery at the RBCM and of contemporary First Nations culture in B.C. The First Peoples Gallery is a large component of the RBCM and this is part of a new and exciting approach to that gallery space.”
The festival kicks off Fri., Jan. 25 at Logan’s Pub (1821 Cook) with performances by actor and bluesman Gary Farmer (New Mexico), Skookum Sound System, and accoustic rock with Jasper (Six Nations, Ont.). 9pm. $12 at the door.
Throughout the afternoon of Sat., Jan. 26, MediaNet and the Royal BC Museum team up to present a film festival featuring seven video works by Canadian Indigenous artists screening in the First Nations Gallery from 1-5pm (free with admission).
The main event features dance, spoken word, music and video projection with Victoria’s poet laureate Janet Marie Rogers, Peter Morin, Bracken Hanuse Corlett (Skookum Sound System) and Robyn Kruger. $20.15 (members), $22.40 (non-members) at royalbcmuseum.bc.ca.
As part of RBCM’s Wonder Sunday, films by Indigenous youth will be screened in the First Nations Gallery from 1-3pm, Sun., Jan 27 (included with admission).
All events at 675 Belleville. M
By Teoni Spathelfer