Languages: English, Cree
Iskwew Singers ("woman" in Cree) is a Cree First Nations traditional singing group who use their voices and hand drums to weave culture, language and teachings of the elders into songs to share with the people of Mother Earth. Iskwew Singers wear traditional clothing or regalia and play hand drums and rattles; each song is a story and these stories are told. Not wanting to leave audiences in their seats, they engage them in a final "friendship round dance" before their show is over.
Their beautiful harmonies and the beat of their drum is captivating and powerful; Iskwew performs from a place deep within themselves. Combine this with their sense of humour and genuine appreciation of each other, they are sure to please audiences everywhere. Julie Lohnes, Lunenburg Folk Harbour Festival, 2011
Iskwew Singers make statements that are concise - and soulful. It's not pop music, but can be listened to alongside it... [they], accompanied only by percussion, merge their voices gloriously. Tom Harrison, Vancouver Province, 2012
When the three sing together, their collective joy and pride is magical. They're all strong women, and powerful ambassadors for First Nations culture. Alexander Varty, Georgia Straight, April 2013
Grade Suitability: K - 7
Duration: 60 mins.
Capacity: 400 students
Tech Requirements: sound system (PA), three mics on stands
Fee Range: $785 - $1,035 (Includes ArtStarts' fee. Additional fees apply for remote districts.)
First Nations people believe that all of life is interconnected. Iskwew Singers sing about the inter-connectedness of all things in songs that are stories from long ago, as told by the grandmothers. The women preface each song with the meaning of the story about to be sung. This enables the audience a greater understanding of its origins and place within the culture. Iskwew's live performance covers the songs of oral traditions from the Canadian plains - songs in the Cree linguistic group.