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Calgary’s Wendy Walker records song about boarding school

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Thirty years ago, Wendy Walker had the only conversation with her father about her boarding school experience.Unsurprisingly, he didn’t like talking about it. Calgary-based Walker Her father, a singer-songwriter for Cree, Métis and Mi’kmaq First Nations, attended school in Nova Scotia in the 1940s. said to her. It highlights the multigenerational effects of the boarding school system and its abuses on Indigenous families.

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“In my lifetime, I had one 20-minute conversation with him[about boarding school],” says Walker. “He talked for 20 minutes and never talked about it again. He said, ‘I’m not doing it again.’ Everything that happened to my father happened to me by the time I found out I was growing up with symptoms.

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Seven years ago, Walker heard a similarly harrowing story of being sexually assaulted by a priest from a friend, which inspired him to write his first book, entitled And the Children. She was never satisfied with the results and put her songs aside. But when she heard the news that the graves of her 215 unmarked children were discovered at the site in May 2021, Floods are back from the former Kamloops Indian Residential School.

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“Shortly after the first 215 were found, the words ‘and children’ came to my mind again,” she says. “I sat down and wrote it. Truly, I believe the Creator and my ancestors gave it to me. There was no struggle, no rewrites. Most songs are rewritten.” This song didn’t have that, it was complete, perfect, sheer talent, she knew exactly the lyrics, she knew the melody, she knew exactly the order of the songs.”

Calgary singer Wendy Walker has written a new song about boarding school.Photo by Sean Denny
Calgary singer Wendy Walker has written a new song about boarding school.Photo by Sean Denny jpg

Walker eventually went on to record the song, starting with drums emulating a heartbeat and turning it into a powerful ballad about grief and healing. The song ends by suggesting that children have become part of their ancestors and are no longer silent. It will be released on all streaming platforms on September 30th, National Truth and Reconciliation Day.

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“These are things that we as Indigenous people and our communities have been saying all along,” says Walker. “We knew we had kids, we knew it. I wouldn’t have done this without the survivors I wouldn’t have done this for me Survivors keep asking for it So I just recorded it.Grief and trauma can be accessed and dealt with in a safer way.Music has the ability to cut through everything and get directly to the core of our emotions. there is.”

The production is funded by a GoFundMe campaign, which has so far raised $3,325, surpassing its goal of $2,500. Walker admits that he had no intention of recording the song at first, but when he performed it live, it made an immediate impact on audiences, whether they were indigenous or not.

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In July, Walker and violinist Alexandra Danisic, who was also one of the musicians on the recording, performed the song at an event that included a screening of the Kurt Young documentary film They Found Us at Fort Calgary. played.

“I introduced this song because Kurt asked me to play it,” says Walker. “I came near the end of the song and had a lot of flashbacks and triggers of myself. I had to. I turned from the audience and sobbed, apparently missing a standing ovation. ”

Since then, Walker has performed the song several times before various audiences.

“Every time we played that song live, some songs worked, some songs didn’t work, but the survivors would always talk to us after the performance,” says Walker. “They’ve been asking me for songs. If enough people ask you, you’ll eventually overcome yourself and find a way to make a recording.

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Walker was born in Manitoba and has lived in Calgary for many years. Her first performance, she believes, was when she was eight years old when she visited her father in Vancouver and she was asked to perform You Are My Sunshine. . As a young singer, she performed in prisons, churches, and “everywhere” before taking a long hiatus from her music. She began her playing again about 30 years ago and toured Canada and the United States. In 2018, she was one of the artists invited to join the Alberta delegation at the PyeongChang Olympics, where she performed as part of an a cappella duo called Reconciliation. She has released dozens of singles and her two full-length albums. She is currently working on her third release, dubbed The Legacy Project, which she hopes to release later this year.

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“There are times in life when you have to say, ‘What is my legacy? What am I leaving behind?’ is working to set up an actual music award for.

“When I started, they said I could play music in a bar, but I didn’t want to. That’s why Legacy Project supports the Legacy Music Awards. I would have benefited if there were very practical audio lessons that were not accessible to these kinds of services that are not well known in the Indigenous community.”

The Children will be available on all streaming services on September 30th.

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Calgary’s Wendy Walker records song about boarding school

Source link Calgary’s Wendy Walker records song about boarding school

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