Songs of resistance and resilience

Todd
Todd MacLean
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This past Sunday, an afternoon of music was presented in a loft venue at 102 Queen St. in commemoration of Victims of Crime Awareness Week.

This week marks the ninth annual Victims Week, which is held every April to raise awareness about issues facing victims of crime and the services, programs and laws in place to help victims and their families.

Through the Victims Fund, a grants and contributions program administered by the Department of Justice Canada, more than 180 events and projects are being held across the country this week with support from the federal government.

And Sunday’s presentation of music and poetry represented one of these such events to mark the beginning of Victims Week in Charlottetown.

Leading up to the show, local songwriters were approached and asked if they would be interested in performing an existing original song on the “victims” theme that could be in their repertoire or if they could instead be interested in writing a completely brand new song for the occasion.

The result was a touching 14-act presentation of songs of resistance and resilience that featured a lineup of some of the best songwriters the Island has to offer.

It began shortly after 3:30 p.m. in a chic Queen Street loft where about 40 people gathered to experience what was clearly going to be a unique musical event.

The afternoon’s light streamed in through the loft windows that backlit the stage at the front of the room to glint upon the 12-string guitar of Malcolm Stanley, who was the first performer of the day — as he sang an original song written just two weeks ago, specifically for the event, appropriately entitled Victim of Crime.

Amid ringing chord plucking arpeggiation, Stanley wove a tale of a marriage gone bad, complete with many a word twist and clever rhyme along the way to illustrate the dangers of what can happen when a relationship becomes what you never imagined it could be.

Blake Francis of the rap group City Natives (who performed at the ECMA’s APTN First Nations Showcase at the Rodd Charlottetown the night before) was up next, as he rapped a song dedicated to the loss of his little girl, who would have been four years old this year.

Other first-half pieces were performed by Andrew Waite and Nikki Schieck (who presented the very first song co-written by the two of them — with Andrew on guitar/vocals and Nikki on alto sax/backing vocals), Just Gus (with a song called Brudenell), Vanessa Lovoie (who read a poem in French), Carmel Mikol of Nova Scotia (whose beautiful voice filled the room in a song called Caroline) and Eliza Starchild Knockwood, who silenced our souls and reached straight to our hearts with her mother’s Healing Song.

After an intermission of light refreshments and snacks, the afternoon continued with wonderful well-received performances by Jamie MacSwain, Patrick Bunston, Teresa Doyle, David “Lobie” Daughton (who was one of the organizers of the event), Amanda Jackson and Dale McKie and Drea MacDonald.

And in what was certainly one of the most striking points of the afternoon, guitarist/vocalist Chris Nettleton (the busker who was assaulted and who had his guitar smashed at his spot at the corner of University Avenue and Kent Street just two weeks ago), delivered powerfully, singing:

“I never thought that this road would be so long / I never thought that I would have to be so strong / Why is it so hard to be me ...”

Exemplifying the glaring reasons for the need for Victims of Crime Awareness Week, Nettleton unified the room in a spirit of oneness in those moments, as loud and resounding applause surged around him as he finished his original song.

For more on Victims of Crime Awareness Week and the

services offered by the government of Canada, visit www.victimsweek.gc.ca.

Next week: I’ll tell you about the benefit concert for Monica Thibaudier-Ness, which is being held this evening in Charlottetown.

 

Todd MacLean is a local freelance writer and musician. If you have a comment or suggestion for a review, you can get in touch with him at tmaclean@theguardian.pe.ca or at 626-1242. But he won’t be offended if you don’t.

Todd’s weekend picks

1. Canadian Mental Health Association Spring Gala Dinner – Summerside Legion, today at 6:30 p.m. and the Delta Prince Edward, tomorrow at 6:30 p.m., featuring appearances by Steven Page, formerly of The Barenaked Ladies, and Olympic cyclist Clara Hughes.

2. Benefit concert for Monica Thibaudier-Ness – Carrefour de l’Isle St. Jean, today at 7 p.m., featuring Mitch Schurman, Al Tuck, Chris Corrigan, David Nicholson and other musical friends.

3. The Hobbit – Watermark Theatre, Rustico, today and tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

4. AVC Rubber Boot Revue – Atlantic Veterinary College, UPEI, today at 7:30 p.m., hosted by Wade Lynch and featuring Fiddlers’ Sons, Courtney Hogan and more.

5. Ceol Agus Caidre – BIS Hall, today at 8 p.m., featuring music by Roy Johnstone and friends.

6. dance umbrella: Mirror Image – The Mack, tomorrow at 7 p.m.

7. Winterjazz Season Finale – The Pourhouse, tomorrow at 7 p.m., featuring Doris Mason.

8. Ballet Jorgen: Romeo & Juliet – Harbourfront Theatre, tomorrow at 7:30 p.m.

9. Voices of Spring – Trinity United Church, Sunday at 3 p.m.

Organizations: Veterinary College, Victims Week, Victims Fund Department of Justice Canada Mental Health Association The Barenaked Ladies The Mack Harbourfront Theatre

Geographic location: Queen Street, Nova Scotia, Kent Street Canada Charlottetown.Todd MacLean

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