Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Buffy Sainte-Marie is coming to Montreal

Buffy Sainte-Marie is returning to Montreal as part of POP Montreal on Friday, October 2, 8:00 pm (doors open at 7:00), at Eglise St. Jean Baptiste, 309 Rachel East. Call Hello Darlin’ Productions at 514-524-9225 to reserve tickets.

Here’s a Montreal Gazette review I wrote about a 2001 Buffy Sainte-Marie concert at the Spectrum.

Buffy still moves fans

By Mike Regenstreif
Montreal Gazette – June 22, 2001

Buffy Sainte-Marie has covered a lot of musical ground over the past four decades. From her first days in the folk coffee houses of the early-1960s to accepting an Oscar for writing Up Where We Belong from An Officer and a Gentleman.

Along the way she's done long stints with Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street and been one of the most prolific figures in aboriginal culture.

All of those facets of Sainte-Marie's career were on display last night at the Spectrum as she performed the closing concert of Montreal's First Peoples' Festival.

Yesterday was National Aboriginal Day in Canada, but as Sainte-Marie joked early on, "every day is Aboriginal Day for some of us."

Alternating between acoustic guitar and electric keyboard, Sainte-Marie spent the evening moving from folk music to rockers, from love songs to kid songs, to socially conscious pieces that reflected her long years of activism in native causes in Canada and the United States.

As a veteran performer, Sainte-Marie knew how to pace the concert, drawing the audience in with crowd pleasing hits like Up Where We Belong and Until Its Time For You To Go and then moving them with songs like Floyd Westerman's Relocation Blues, a gripping and emotional song about the abuse suffered by native children in residential schools.

Sainte-Marie also did a much lighter song about kids, the delightful That's What Little Kids Do, from her Sesame Street days.

Another moving moment in the concert came when Sainte-Marie talked about the innocence of the early-'60s, of trading songs with other young, socially-aware songwriters like Phil Ochs and Peter LaFarge before she launched into a compelling version of Universal Soldier.

Although the song reflects a youthful idealism, it also seems as valid today as it did 35 years ago.

In addition to the familiar songs, Sainte-Marie also performed some new material, including the beautiful This Love Goes On, which, she explained, was a song that takes her back to her own Cree community in Saskatchewan.

A couple of Sainte-Marie's songs, including the hook-filled toe-tapper, He's an Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo, and Darling Don't Cry When I Leave the USA, effectively incorporated Pow Wow chants and drum rhythms.

Sainte-Marie also pleased the crowd when she put down her guitar and played the traditional Cripple Creek on the one-stringed mouth bow, a primitive but compelling instrument whose sound she controlled with the force of her breathing.

--Mike Regenstreif

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