Neo Nativism versus New Music

@ 8:00pm

Door $20 / $12


In 1989, a group of young Aboriginal artists took the floor at the Western Front for an influential multi-media performance entitled Neo Nativism, an expression of traditional Aboriginal culture through new technology. Fall 2014 marks its 25th anniversary and to celebrate Russell Wallace, one of Neo Nativism’s founding members, curates a night of New Music revisiting it’s original aim to connect tradition with modernity. The evening features contemporary Aboriginal performances by Leonard Fisher, new music co-composed by Russell Wallace and Remy Siu; Pat Ernst and Lan Tung; Michael Park and Warren Arcand, and arrangements of traditional and contemporary Aboriginal music by Tony Wilson for the Salt Chuck City Ensemble, a large ensemble of new music, jazz and Aboriginal artists.

The Salt Chuck City Ensemble is Kevin  Elaschuk (trumpet), David Say (sax), Pat Ernst (violin), Lan Tung (erhu), Ron Samworth (guitar), Michael Park (piano), Paul Blaney (bass), Skye Brooks (drums), Remy Siu (laptop), Deanna Gestrin, Alison Jenkins, Will George, and Russell Wallace (vocals).

The week leading up to this performance, artist Russell Wallace will explore playback transformation of ancient found reel-to-reel audio tape which he will cut and weave into a neo Coast Salish cape. You can follow it online at “Echoic Chamber.



Third in the series, this post concert talk back session features composers and originators of Neo Nativism.



Russell Wallace is a composer, producer and is a traditional Lil’wat singer. Russell’s music has been part of a number of soundtracks (film, video, television) and theatre/dance productions. He was the composer in residence for the Chinook Winds Aboriginal Dance program from 1996-2003 at the Banff Centre for the Arts. He has produced CDs that have been nominated for awards at the Junos, Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, and at the Native American Music Awards in the USA. Currently Russell works and teaches at the NEC Native Education College. Russell was commissioned by the Nunavut Government to compose music for the Formation of the Nunavut Territories inaugural Gala in April 1999, by the University of Toronto for Aboriginal Music Days in 2000, and by the Westcoast Sacred Arts Society in Vancouver to compose a new choral work with Hussein Janmohamed for the Dalai Lama’s visit to Vancouver in 2004.

Remy Siu ( 蕭逸南 ) is an emerging composer based in Vancouver, BC. He studied at SFU Contemporary Arts with David MacIntyre, Owen Underhill, Janet Danielson, Jeffrey Ryan, Arne Eigenfeldt, and Barry Truax. His work has been performed by the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra, the Victoria Symphony, the Turning Point Ensemble, the Erato Ensemble, Musica Intima, and Quatuor Bozzini. He also composes and performs with Dissonant Disco (a Vancouver music collective) and Hong Kong Exile (an interdisciplinary art collective). Currently, he works on the staff of “Sound of Dragon Society,” a non-profit focused on asian music while “preserving heritage, [and] seeking innovation.” He has worked with Henry Daniel, Steven Hill, Rob Kitsos, and MACHiNENOiSY, among others in the Vancouver arts community. In 2012, he was artist-in-residence at the New Westminster River Market. He has produced two sold-out shows: ASCENSION (string quintet + dance) and Attacca 2012. He was featured in the Georgia Straight 2012 Fall Arts Preview. The Vancouver Sun described his music as “characterized by vibrant, driving rhythms and brash sonorities.”

Pat Ernst has been playing the violin for 20+ years. He grew up in Whitehorse, Yukon where he studied the Suzuki violin method as well as celtic and bluegrass fiddle. He has since completed a diploma in classical music as well as a diploma in jazz studies from Capilano University. He is a local violin teacher teaching at Capilano University in North Vancouver as well as in Squamish and Vancouver.

Playing a dynamic role in the Canadian music scene, Lan Tung is an erhu performer, composer, producer, and administrator. Originally from Taiwan, she incorporates Chinese music with contemporary expressions in her works. At the same time, an intensive interest in music outside her tradition has been a major drive in her artistic explorations. Lan is the leader of the JUNO nominated Orchid Ensemble, and she performs with Birds of Paradox, Tandava, Vancouver Inter-Cultural Orchestra, Mozaico Flamenco Dance Theatre, among many other projects. She has toured extensively in North America, working with composers, musicians, dancers, visual and media artists of various cultural backgrounds. Since moving to Canada in 1994, Lan has premiered numerous contemporary compositions, including chamber, solo, orchestral and electro-acoustic works, by Canadian composers John Oliver, Hope Lee, Moshe Denburg, Mark Armanini, Jin Zhang, Janet Danielson, Barry Truax, Neil Weisensel, Paul Plimley, Yawen V. Wang, Farshid Samandari, Michael Vincent, and Grace Lee.

Michael Park is a composer and pianist with a keen interest in speech, humour, and collaboration. His music aims to give audiences an experience beyond the realm of traditional concert-going. Heralded for his innovative projects, his Ted Talk Experiencing Disease Through Music has been described as moving, haunting, and an amazing translation of Alzheimer’s. Awarded the Gold Medal and BMO Advocacy Award, his opera, Diagnosis: Diabetes will be premiered during the Boston Metro Opera’s 2014-15 season. Michael’s compositions have been performed in Vancouver at the Sonic Boom Music Festival and the Songfire Festival of Song, as well as concerts presented by Music on Main, the Erato Ensemble, and pianist, Corey Hamm. His music has been presented in Winnipeg by Flipside Opera and the Contemporary Opera Lab, and in New York by Opera On Tap. Currently a DMA Candidate at The University of British Columbia, Michael previously completed graduate studies at The University of Western Ontario (2009), and undergraduate studies at the University of Manitoba (2007). His principal composition teachers include Dorothy Chang, Omar Daniel, Peter Paul Koprowski, Gordon Fitzell, and Orjan Sandred.

Warren Arcand currently resides on Galiano Island, BC. He’s primarily known for his work in performance art. The bulk of his work has been presented in Vancouver, with occasional forays to Victoria, Toronto, and Saskatchewan communities. His family comes from Muskeg Lake and Big River First Nations in Saskatchewan. His current interests include making images, text-based work and short film and video. He’s the past artistic director for the Centre of Indigenous Theatre, Toronto. An important formative influence on his life and work has been and continues to be his association with the artistic communities surrounding the Western Front and grunt Gallery.

Tony Wilson is “unquestionably one of the most original guitar stylists on the Canadian scene.” He has studied with many acclaimed jazz musicians including Oliver Gannon, Dave Holland, John Abercrombie, Kevin Eubanks and Steve Coleman. Tony’s compositions have been played by artists as diverse as the NOW Orchestra, The Hard Rubber Orchestra, Myra Melford, Kokoro Dance, Marilyn Crispel, Francois Houle and Zubot and Dawson. His five main active groups are the Tony Wilson Sextet, the powerhouse Albert Ayler tribute band called Flowers for Albert, the Irish-influenced group Celtic Works, the Pugs and Crows, and the John Zorn inspired Bugs Inside.