Amplify Spring

  • It wasn't until my early 20's that I started to go back and learn the customs of my people and it’s started to see how relevant it is to my relationships.

    Ralph Johnson
  • Retracing these steps, thinking about what would have been different had she (my Grandmother) not gone to residential school. What would have been different had my Mother been raised by m y Grandmother?

    Melody McKiver

Episode 5

Synopsis

Anishinaabe composer Melody McKiver’s musical work integrates electronics with Western classical music to shape a new genre of Anishinaabe compositions. Their debut EP Reckoning was nominated for an Indigenous Music Award, and they were a participant in the Banff Centre for the Arts’ inaugural Indigenous Classical Music Gathering. Melody is also a youth worker in Sioux Lookout, providing mental health and cultural support to First Nations students. In this episode, Melody explains why it was important to return to Sioux Lookout to learn more about their Indigenous identity that had partially been inaccessible to them growing up off the land. The episode explores the effects of residential schools on a family and how Melody’s journey to return home to Sioux Lookout is able to teach them about their roots and come to know themselves better through learning about the past.

Anishinaabe Elder Ralph Johnson has devoted his life to teaching others the Anishinaabe ceremonies. He explains that learning about the past shapes who you are and your relationship with others. By returning to Sioux Lookout and learning ancient practices, Melody is able to connect with the land and water of their ancestry and family, and draws inspiration from the power of water in the spring breakup for a brighter future.

The Team:
  • Director: Nadia MacLaren
  • Producer: Michelle St John
  • Producer: Jeremy Edwardes
  • Producer: Shane Belcourt
  • Executive Producer: Jim Compton
  • Executive Producer: R. Todd Ivey
  • Featuring: Melody McKiver
  • Featuring: Ralph Johnson
  • Featuring: Hammond Lac Seul
  • Featuring: Water
  • Cinematographer: Sean Stiller
  • Editor: Adam Phipps
  • Sound and score: Anthony Wallace




Exerpts

  • man playing drum

Web Trailer

Anishinaabe Elder Ralph Johnson tells a story that asks us to honour the direction that we’re given by the Creator. While Anishinaabe composer Melody McKiver explains why it was important to them to return home to Sioux Lookout.

  • violin player

DEBIINAWE GIZHIGOON

Watch the music video for Melody McKiver’s song Debiinaawe Giizhigon. This music video was edited by Francis Laliberte.

  • frozen lake landscape

Amplifier

Composer Melody McKiver is accompanied by their music producer Anthony Wallace as they walk through the unique songwriting and on-the-land recording process for Debiinaawe Giizhigon.

  • MELODY MCKIVER



    Melody McKiver’s musical work integrates electronics with Western classical music to shape a new genre of Anishinaabe compositions. Their debut EP Reckoning was nominated for an Indigenous Music Award, and they were a participant in the Banff Centre for the Arts’ inaugural Indigenous Classical Music Gathering. A frequent performer across Turtle Island, Melody has performed at the National Arts Centre, Luminato Festival, Vancouver’s Western Front, and the Toronto International Film Festival.

    They have shared stages with Polaris Prize winners Lido Pimienta, Tanya Tagaq, and Jeremy Dutcher, and performed with acclaimed filmmaker and musician Alanis Obomsawin. As a composer, Melody was commissioned by Soundstreams and Jumblies Theatre to write a string quartet responding to Steve Reich’s Different Trains, drawing on interviews conducted with local elders. Melody was invited to the Berlinale Talents Sound Studio as a music and composition mentor for the 2020 Berlin International Film Festival.

    They also re-imagined Stravinsky’s Rite of Spring through an Anishinaabeg lens alongside choreographer Brian Solomon. Melody is also employed as a youth worker in Sioux Lookout, providing mental health and cultural supports to First Nations students. Upcoming projects include a song and music video premiering on Amplify, a new APTN show that explores musicians’ creative processes, and a full-length album in 2021.

    WEBSITE
  • Nadia MacLaren



    Nadia is Anishnaabe (Bear Clan) and mixed-ancestry whose family roots are in Heron Bay, Pic River located on the North Shore of Lake Superior. She grew up in small towns across Northwestern Ontario and calls Sioux Lookout home. Nadia is a mother of two, a Drawing and Painting graduate of the Ontario College of Art and Design University, a published author and is currently finishing a graphic novel entitled, “Ever Good,” which was awarded a grant from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission as a project of commemoration.

    Nadia brings to her work deep knowledge and experience in the areas of Indigenous community wellness, pedagogy, professional development and meaningful community engagement and relationship building. Nadia McLaren is an accomplished public speaker, educator, artist and storyteller with more than 15 years’ experience working in Indigenous educational contexts. She is also the creator (writer/director/producer) of an award- winning documentary she made in honour of her grandmother, Theresa McCraw entitled, “Muffins for Granny,” (Mongrel Media 2007). This documentary involved extensive research with community Elders and Residential School Survivors, was the recipient of a prestigious Aboriginal Healing Foundation grant and is part of the esteemed Criterion Collection.

    IMDB
    shane belcourt

Biinaawe Gizhigooon was recorded on-the-land in Sioux Lookout.

Composer Melody McKiver and her music producer Anthony Wallace walked through the unique songwriting and on-the-land recording process for de biinaawe gizhigooon.

Address: Sioux Lookout
Song producer: Anthony Wallace
Filming locations: Sioux Lookout, Lac Seul First Nation