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Calgary Folk Fest LogoCalgary Folk Fest Logo Compressed
Presented by
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Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
Calgary Folk Fest

Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

from Peterborough, ON

"One spring, living in the North, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson found herself transfixed by ice melting into a lake. She pondered the power of water, its function inside us, and connecting us, its cultural importance to the Anishinaabe people — and how catastrophic climate change is radically impacting it throughout the land. The poems, born of water, became the lyrics to her latest album, Theory of Ice. It’s mostly spoken word, over a fluid blend of shoe-gazer pop, alt-folk and sludgy rock. “An expansive journey into the harsh realities of our planet in crisis,” remarked one judge who put Simpson on last year’s Polaris Prize shortlist.

As arresting and celebrated as her music is, it’s only one type of offering from this Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg artist and anti-colonialism activist. She’s written several books of poetry, fiction and nonfiction — her latest, Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies was a finalist for both the Governor-General’s Award for fiction and Dublin Literary Award. Holder of a PhD from University of Manitoba, she’s also lectured and taught for two decades at universities and in Dechinta Centre, an Indigenous land-based education institute.

Simpson’s music is simultaneously ethereal and very attached to the land around us; rich in powerful messages and ideas, yet sparse and open enough to leave blanks for listeners to fill in. Her lyrics will prompt you to be still and listen; and they’ll make you want to rise up and act."

Biography by Jason Markusoff

Full schedule coming soon! Stay tuned.