by Lorraine Payette, written August 10, 2013
(GANANOQUE, ONTARIO) The air begins to settle as onlookers shift to find a more comfortable position in chairs or on benches. Some close their eyes. And then the magic unfolds, and they become transformed.
Against the sounds of nature herself, a low music begins to rise, weaving itself into the space around them, building in intensity until it mingles with the very soul and takes flight, bearing the listener into strange new worlds of beauty and understanding never experienced before.
Just as it seems that no more can be experienced, that the pure beauty of this flight of spirit must in itself become perilous, the sounds soften and abate, and the listeners light like so many birds upon the welcoming branches of a friendly tree in a clearing.
And when they open their eyes, a single man is standing at the microphone holding a wooden recorder. He smiles at them, speaks gently, and the evening begins.
In appearance, David Maracle is a quiet, un-pre-supposing man, someone you’d pass on the street and probably never notice. But put a musical instrument into his hands, and he and it transform to become far greater than either of them could be independently. If music truly has an embodiment, he is it.
Throughout the evening, Maracle played a wide collection of instruments, including (but not limited to) various recorders and flutes, rattles, didgeridoo, crystal bowl, and a hang drum (pronounced “hahn”). Each had its own special sound, and each was teased into brilliance by the master’s touch.
To add to the joy and power of the evening, audience members and guests were encouraged to participate by playing rattles and drums, or to dance if they saw fit. The entire space was filled with joy and movement as everyone became a part of that astounding whole.
David Maracle (Tehenneia’kwe:tarons) is a winner of the coveted Aboriginal Peoples’ Choice Music Award, and is the seventh son of Andrew and Lillian Maracle. He spent his first twelve years living on the Akwesasne Mohawk Reserve, and remembers traveling to visit different First Nations communities with his parents. This created a rich and wonderful environment for his young mind, allowing him to listen to the elders and absorb the history and traditions of the Mohawk people. Blending the heritage of both of his parents (his father is Mohawk of the Turtle Clan, while his mother is Scottish of the Bruce Clan), as well as the music of both cultures, he has created a whole new way for the entire world to listen and learn.
“This is what we do here at Aboriginal Adventures,” said Marilyn Paxton-Deline, proprietor. “It’s a chance for everyone to come out and learn more about us and who we are, what we stand for, and all that we contribute.”
Unfortunately, Maracle was only available for one concert in Gananoque this season, but there may be more in the future.
Aboriginal Adventures in Gananoque opened its arms to the world on June 26 of this year, and has been bringing the culture and history of the First Nations to visitors. Located at an 18’ tiipii at the Joel Stone Heritage Park, they have something for everyone.
“We offer interactive First Nations drumming, dancing, storytelling, artisans, campfire evenings and more,” said Paxton-Deline. “All events take place at our 18ft tiipii, here in Gananoque and the 1000 Islands. We consider it to be the place to go for First Nation’s culture, heritage and artisans.”
The program runs from Wednesday, June 26 – Thursday, September 19, 2013, with Campfire & Storytelling Evenings Wednesdays through Saturdays at 7:00-8:30 p.m. There are also programs on Sundays at 2:00 p.m. only. Each is as unique and varied as those involved, and admission is by donation. A mini-powwow was held on July 23-24, and another is scheduled for August 13-14.
To learn more, please go to the Aboriginal Adventures facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/aboriginaladventures or drop in at First Nations Creations on King Street East in Gananoque and ask the staff.