The Canadian Aboriginal Festival Expands to 7 Days of Arts, Entertainment and Aboriginal Heritage

Toronto, Canada – North America’s largest multi-disciplinary
Aboriginal arts event has expanded to include a week of cultural events
throughout the city of Toronto. November 21-27, 2005, the 12th annual Canadian
Aboriginal Festival visitors will be treated to events that reflect the
Aboriginal spirit and culture that spans artistic genres including citywide
music concerts, a comedy show, fashion shows, and conferences. The week
culminates with the 7th annual Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (Friday,
November 25) and the weekend Festival and Pow Wow (Friday, November 25 to
Sunday, November 27).The seventh annual Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards will honor and celebrate the
achievements of Canada’s premiere musical artists from all of the nation’s
Aboriginal communities. Awards will be presented in 27 categories, including
three special awards and the Galaxie Rising Stars Award, in a gala event that
includes outstanding performances. The Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards take
place Friday, November 25 at the John Bassett Theatre located in the Metro
Toronto Convention Centre (255 Front Street West). Tickets for the Canadian
Aboriginal Music Awards are $35 in advance and $40 at the doors.

Aboriginal heritage meets fashion at the Canadian Aboriginal Festival. Top
Aboriginal designers showcase their fashions at the From Culture to Couture: A
Gala Evening of Native Fashion. Taking place on Thursday, November 24 at 8 pm at
the Metro Toronto Convention Centre (255 Front Street West), this gala
fundraiser has all the glamorous elements of any Fashion Week event. Hosted by
celebrated Native actors Adam Beach and Jennifer Podemski, the fashion gala will
feature work by preeminent Canadian designers Dorothy Grant, D’Arcy Moses,
Angela DeMontigny, Pam Baker and Dene Fur Clouds, along with special guest
designer Patricia Michaels from New Mexico. Tickets for From Culture to Couture
are $120.

New this year, the Aboriginal Comedy Night will be a hilarious event, with
stand-up performances from leading Aboriginal comedians including Charlie Hill,
Don Burnstick, Gerry "The Big Bear" Barrett and Mitch Factor. The evening,
Emceed by Andre Morisseau, will cover a wide range of topics, sure to have the
audience in stitches! The Aboriginal Comedy Night takes place on Saturday,
November 26 at 8 pm at the hub of the Canadian Aboriginal Festival, the Metro
Toronto Convention Centre (255 Front Street West), Room 701. Tickets for The
Aboriginal Comedy Night are $30.00.

The 12th annual Festival and Pow Wow, taking place November 25-27 at the Rogers
Centre, is the centerpiece and grand finale of the Canadian Aboriginal Festival.
More than 1500 Pow Wow dancers parade in full regalia in the three Grand
Entries. Organized by the Indigenous Studies Program of McMaster University, the
Traditional Teaching Area is where Festival visitors hear and meet some of the
most distinguished first nations elders and healers in North America. Music
performances at the Pow Wow feature some of the Canadian Aboriginal Music Award
nominees, well-known international Aboriginal performers as well as emerging
Aboriginal talent.

New to this year’s Pow Wow, the festival’s gourmet Native food area. Visitors
can taste the Aboriginal influences within haute cuisine with Chef Virginia
General in between musical performances at the Roger’s Centre. Confidence meets
fashion at the Turtle Concepts Fashion Shows, where Aboriginal youth, many from
rural areas and traveling for the first time, model fashions from top and
up-and-coming Native designers. At the Lacrosse Skills Competition, amateur
lacrosse players compete for the Ontario title. At the Marketplace, visitors
will find a wide selection of clothing, jewelry, carvings, sculpture, fine art,
traditional food and much more — an excellent opportunity to shop for special
gifts, add to collections, and learn more about Aboriginal crafts. The younger
visitors to this year’s festival will enjoy an expanded children’s area with
tons of interactive activities that is sure to keep their minds stimulated. This
year’s Visual Art Exhibition theme, Seeing in a Sacred Manner: The Shape of All
Things, showcases contemporary and traditional visual art and craft pieces from
Aboriginal artists across the country. Tickets for the Canadian Aboriginal
Festival & Pow Wow are $10 per day for adults and $5 per day for children 12 and
younger. Daily family passes for 4 people are available for $25.00.

Students embrace diversity and learn about Native culture at the Education Day.
School children enjoy a positive Aboriginal experience first-hand, and learn
about Canada’s First Nations, Inuit and Metis culture by visiting six different
interactive learning stations. The Education Day takes place on Friday, November
25 at the Rogers Centre. Tickets for Education Day are $7 for each student and

A wide spectrum of Aboriginal music is featured at live music performances.
Aboriginal Voices Radio hosts a solid lineup of musicians including Jacques &
The Shakey Boys with The Shane Anthony Band on Monday, November 21, then Marc
Nadjiwan and Digging Roots on Tuesday, November 22, 2005, and Behzig and Eric
Voice on Wednesday, November 23. All weekday concerts take place at Grace
O’Malley’s (14 Duncan Street). Cover charge is $5.00.

The Canadian Aboriginal Festival and Artistic Director Santee Smith will present
the Toronto launch of the stellar contemporary aboriginal dance company Kaha:wi
Dance Theatre. The launch features critically acclaimed performances of Here On
Earth and Kaha:wi at the Winchester Street Theatre, November 23 at 8 pm.

The Encyclopedia of Native Music, written and compiled by Native music
journalist Brian Wright-McLeod, will be launched at the Canadian Aboriginal
Festival. The book, the first catalogue of Aboriginal music, represents a new
area of research focusing primarily on commercially released recordings in all
genres of traditional and mainstream music. The Encyclopedia of Native Music is
accompanied by The Soundtrack of a People – A Companion to The Encyclopedia of
Native Music (EMI Music Canada). This 3-CD collection, which features 72 tracks
and extensive liner notes, is a snapshot that hints at the immensity of the
diverse styles of Native people who continue to celebrate life through music and
culture. EMI Music Canada is donating part of the proceeds from sales of this
project to the Native Music Research Institute. The launch of the Encyclopedia
of Native Music and accompanying CD takes place on Friday, November 25 at the
Metro Toronto Convention Centre (255 Front Street West) John Bassett Theatre at
6 pm.

Opportunities to learn and connect with others at the Canadian Aboriginal
Festival include Aboriginal Languages & Cultural Identity Symposium, The
Gathering of 9 Circles series Music and Dance Circles being presented by The
Association for Native Development in the Arts (ANDPVA), and the Aboriginal
Economic Development Conference. The conferences, all designed to create a
dialogue within the Aboriginal community, will be held between November 23 and
25 at various locations. See
for details.

Tickets to the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, From Culture to Couture, the
Aboriginal Comedy Night, the Canadian Aboriginal Festival & Pow Wow and other
events throughout the week are available at Ticketmaster by calling
416-872-1111, online at
or by visiting any Ticketmaster outlet.

The Canadian Aboriginal Festival is supported by the Dreamcatcher Fund, Ontario
Cultural Attractions Fund, Department of Canadian Heritage, Department of Indian
Affairs, Ontario Federation of Indian Friendship Centres, Bank of Montreal,
Ministry of Ontario Tourism, National Defense, Royal Bank, Great Blue Heron
Charity Casino, Metis Nation of Ontario, Assembly of First Nations, Ontario
Teacher’s Federation and Elementary Teacher’s Federation of Ontario and KPMG.

Author: World Music Central News Department

World music news from the editors at World Music Central