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Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm appears July 16th in Thessalon!

We’ve been looking forward to this one for a long time!

Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm is bringing her performance poetry to Thessalon on the evening of July 16th. She’ll be accompanied by musician Shane Belcourt.
The show will be at the I.O.O.F. hall, across from the Post Office on Main Street, Thessalon, at 7:00 p.m.
Tickets are available at the door.

Kateri is a well-respected poet who has toured not only Canada, but also Europe and New Zealand. She has published two books of her own poetry, my heart is a stray bullet and bloodriver woman. She’s also released two CDs of poetry and music, standing ground and A Constellation of Bones: Soundtrack. On the latter she collaborated with Maori hip-hop artist Te Kupu.

Akiwenzie-Damm’s grandmother Irene Akiwenzie wrote for the Wiarton Echo and the Sun Times, and was also a wonderful speaker and storyteller. Her husband Joe was a quiet man, says Akiwenzie-Damm, “but when he spoke, his words had power. When he spoke, we listened.” Akiwenzie-Damm’s Polish grandmother Anna Damm, a talkative and animated woman, also loved to tell stories and jokes.
“It completely makes sense that as an Anishnaabe woman I would be drawn to poetry. It is such a simple, yet profound form of expression…very much part of a continuum with the songs and stories and invocations that are part of our traditions.”

Kateri established her publishing company, Kegedonce, in 1993. She has edited two collections of writing by First Nations authors from around the world.

Shane Belcourt,the son of Métis leader Tony Belcourt, is a filmmaker with a deep respect for the traditions and knowledge of aboriginal people. As a musician, he released one CD with his former band Woodrow, and three as a solo effort under the name The Shane Anthony Band. After making a number of short films, he made his first feature-length movie, Tkaronto, which was chosen as the Closing Night film at the 2007 ImagineNATIVE Film and Media Festival.

They remember the start of their collaboration slightly differently. Kateri remembers it as Shane inviting her onstage at an event. Shane remembers it as a wedding, with Kateri starting the action, “waxing it”, as he says, with friends improvising in the background.

Both agree that it was fun, and that they worked well together.

“Shane is a generous, easygoing, fun, and very talented guy,” says Kateri. “I enjoy performing with him because there’s no stress. Shane knows I’m not a musician and understands that I’m not going to instantaneously turn into a rapper or singer. ”

Shane says, “Collaborating with a poet is unique in that you follow a more percussive lead as opposed to tonal. It requires a bit more of a subdued supporting role as well; the poet can’t belt it out like Aretha as the music crests. Ya gotta keep it supportive in volume, variance, and intensity.”

On July 16th, we get to see that magic happen here. Don’t miss it!