This CD is a classic from the 70's. Play by George Ryga, staring Chief Dan George of Little Big man fame, as the grandfather. The story of Rita Joe, a Native American girl who is being pulled between two cultures, took Canada and many other countries by storm. This is the recording of the Ballet by the Royal Winnipeg Ballet Co. As an album with Paul Horn and Ann Mortifee, Chief Dan George and Peter Howarth (as the Magistrate), it became an award winning album. A seminal work, studied in schools and universities, The Ecstasy Of Rita Joe was instrumental in moving the Native American cause forward into the consciousness of the people. Unfortunately, this marvellous work is still relevant today as it was when it was made. A magnificent journey, with a story, music, singing and acting you won’t forget.
ANN MORTIFEE (Narrator) is a singer and songwriter from Canada. Born in South Africa, Ms. Mortifee spent her first five years on a sugar cane farm before moving to Canada as a young girl. She began singing with the legendary Josh White when she was a teenager in Vancouver, BC. Soon thereafter, she auditioned for a singer in George Ryga’s play, “The Ecstasy of Rita Joe,” and it was then she recognized the power of the arts to include social awareness, a commitment deepened through her work with the Royal Winnipeg Ballet on writing the ballet score of that play which premiered at the National Arts Center in Ottawa
Ms. Mortifee is known as one of the most unique and outstanding performers in Canada. Known worldwide for her passionate performance, she has released 10 CDs: on her own Jabula Record label. They include “The Ecstasy of Rita Joe,” “Baptism,” “Journey to Kairos,” Jacques Brel Lives.” “Reflections on Crooked Walking,” “Born to Live – 1984,” “Bright Encounter,” “Serenade at the Doorway,” “Healing Journey” and “Into the Heart of the Sangoma.”
She has written several ballets including “A yesterday’s Day” (composed for Les Grandes Ballet Canadiens), “The Grey Goose of Silence” (composed for the North Carolina Dance Theatre), and “Klee Wyck, A Ballet for Emily” based on the life and work of Canadian artist Emily Crarr. She has written film scores and four One Woman Shows including the international award-winning “Journey to Kairos.” she has been in concert WITH artists such as Harry Belafonte, John Denver, Bobby McFerrin, Hagoode Hardy, Ramsey Lewis, and Michele LeGrand, and has performed an evening of her own music with all the major symphony orchestras across Canada.
Her musicals include a family musical called “Reflections on Crooked Walking,” “Jacque and Madly,” “The Arabian Knights” (based on her music and poetry) and a South African musical’ entitled “When he Rains Come,” and a children’s opera commissioned by the Canadian Opera Company called “A Rose is a Rose,”
She received the prestigious honor of the ‘Order of Canada’ and the ‘YWCA Woman of Distinction Award’ for her outstanding contribution to the healing and performing arts in Canada.
Ann co-founded, with her brother Dr. Peter Mortifee, The Somerset Foundation which is devoted to exploring ways of creating a more loving and healthy world through supporting social change by the use of strategic philanthropy. She also co-founded 'The Trust for Sustainable Forestry', which advocates sustainable ecoforestry as means of conserving forest habitat, reinvigorating local economies, creating Eco-Villages for affordable land ownership. She has supported the work of Palliative Care and Hospice, and became a Patron of Vancouver’s Lion’s Gate Hospital Hospice in 19901. Her CD, “Serenade at the Doorway,” created in collaboration with psychologist David Feinstein (author of “Rituals for Living and Dying”) has been used in Palliative Care situations and by therapists, nurses, doctors, psychologists, social workers and hospice volunteers. Over the years, she has been actively involved in Amnesty International, Foster Parent’s Plan,” UNICEF, CAEF, Greenpeace, Variety Club Telethon, Telemiracle, Children’s Hospital, International Peace Day, among others.
Source Credited: Rosemary Phillips www.quillsandnotes.com