Indigenous work at Coastal Jazz

In recognition of the important work that’s being done at the national, regional, and local level to recognize that events in Vancouver take place on the unceded territory of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh Nations; and to foster that spirit by beginning to do the important work of reconciliation with the Indigenous people that are the original inhabitants of this land, the Jazz Festival has undertaken a number of initiatives in 2018.

Beginning on Friday, June 22, as part of the Sounding Promise in the Present Tense Colloquium at Robson Square, presentations and performances will address questions around what it means to improvise in a challenging and uncertain present. What roles can the improvising arts play to address cultural and social turbulence? How might improvisation both settle on and unsettle our senses of what matters now? How does improvising confront our enmeshments in a heavily mediated and diverse world?

Papers from scholars from First Nations University of Canada (Saskatchewan), Asante Centre (BC), University of Regina (SK), SFU (BC),  and UBC ; Keynote speaker Ta’Kaiya Blaney; workshops on community-engaged improvisation projects; performances and artist talks–the colloquium is fascinating and free.

The complete schedule can be found here.

Coastal Jazz is also delighted to host its first Indigenous Artist-in-Residence. A Cree musician, contemporary dancer and choreographer, Coastal Jazz’s Indigenous Artist-in-residence Jessica McMann is also a classically trained flutist with a focus on contemporary music, jazz, and improvisation. Her recent compositions and soundscapes explore Indigenous identity and history. The Indigenous Artist Residency is a new program that celebrates innovative Aboriginal artists and provides opportunities for collaboration, performance, and skills development supported by the Coastal Jazz and Blues Society.

Jessica is featured in three public events:
Friday, June 29 at 5:30pm, she’ll present a workshop with Native American Music Award winning musician Karen Donaldson-Shepherd.

At 7:30, also at Performance Works, Jessica and Karen will be joined by collaborative pianist and storyteller Beverley McKiver for a free concert.

Jessica will also present a workshop as part of the Workshops at the Studio  series at the Roundhouse, June 30.

Coastal Jazz will continue this work in its year round and educational programs.

Finally, we’re excited to be the first cultural group to host an event at šxʷƛ̓ənəq Xwtl’e7énḵ Square, formerly known as the North VAG Plaza. Named in a moving ceremony on June 18, the place where we put our Georgia Street Stage now has a name that reflects both languages spoken on this traditional land. Here’s a video with how to pronounce it, and some information about its meaning: