Live performances and movie screening at Netaawgonebiik Health Centre captivates audience.
By: Damon Hunter
The once quiet healing room of the Netaawgonebiik Health Centre had transformed into a flashing sequence of revolving lights and was cheerfully occupied by an applauding crowd this past Sunday, January 20.
“It was such a good show. I enjoyed it and I’m going to watch the show again,” said Leila Paypompee who brought along her children.“That film really inspired me. My perspective changed on music and history”.
The aforementioned show in question is Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World. The internationally award-winning film had garnered the attention of the community journalism trainer Karli Zschogner and willed her to initiate a screening here in Whitefish Bay, along with the opportunity to host a few debut performances from local musicians.
Teddy Copenace of Naotkamegwanning’s Hanisha Singers elevated the room’s spirituality with his strong vocals and hide drum. Second to perform was Natalie Copenace-Kelly, 14. Utilizing her self-taught ukulele skills, she sang a powerful cover of “Beautiful Thing” by Grace Vanderwaal.
“[I] was hecka scared but I felt better afterwards,” said Natalie. “That’s why I like doing it, because I feel so much better after it.”
Following was Connor Kakeeway’s expertly played two piano performances, both of which were self-taught by the 17 year old multi-instrumentalist only three years ago he said. He played his pieces ‘The Wind Palace’ and ‘The Night Before July’. All musical performances had generated great applause from the crowd.
“I really enjoyed the talent of our young people. Showcasing talent and having a platform for them is definitely needed,” said Rhonda White, 7th grade teacher at Baibombeh School.
Rumble, named after the 1958 influential rock and roll anthem by Shawnee Link Wray, reveals the unrecognized Indigenous contribution to several genres of music across history. The influential lives of these people wowed viewers as their background was not commonly known trivia.
Simple folk music was soon electric guitars and thrashing whips of dyed hair. The film included the backgrounds of Jimi Hendrix, Ozzy Osbourne, Buffy Sainte-Marie, swing’s Mildred Bailey and The Black Eyed Peas’ Taboo.
“The movie was really interesting. I’m a big music lover,” said guitar playing Brody Allen of Onigaming First Nation. “[I] never knew how much influence indigenous peoples had on music.”
The final set of musical performances occurred subsequently to the film opening with Natalie and then Connor with a second original piece. Closing the evening was the debut of the 19 year old, Cayne Kakeeway. Accompanied by community member Glen White on guitar and Connor on keyboard organ, Cayne rapped his own composition of self-written lyrics.
The event had been brought to the attention of renowned guitarist, Stevie Salas. Salas has worked among the more larger bands of the rock genre, most notably Hardware. He has also collaborated with music giants such as Justin Timberlake, Mick Jagger, and Rod Stewart.
Both Salas and Tim Johnson, Executive Producers of the film, agreed to answer community gathered questions following the event through Naotkamegwanning Mazina’igan. These will be answered in our next issue.