Ed released a new Christmas CD available at www.peeekeekoot.ca called Prairie Christmas
This CD "sure has heart"...Ed Peekeekoot is ...."an exceptional fingerstyle guitar player." John McLaughlin, CD Reviewer, The Province, Vancouver
Known as an accomplished instrumentalist and popular entertainer, Ed Peekeekoot offers hope and strength with original music from his First Nations perspective.
Ed Peekeekoot is a different genre of country: aboriginal country, or aboriginal roots. It is song-stories of the transition of hunter-gatherer to farmer in the Prairies; guitar instrumentals that paint the Northern Lights, seen best in the stillness of a Prairie night or harvest on the rez; along with hot fiddling of jigs and reels from all the old Prairie dances.
The featured track on "in the key of cree" is "Wild Lilies to Wheat Fields" which tells about the time of transition for his people with the move onto reservations and learning a new way of providing for their families—farming. This changed their relationship with the land.
"Jiggin’" is an instrumental piece. “I come from a family of fiddlers” Ed says. “My grandmother was a little Metis woman who would do a jig around the kitchen while my uncles played. Prairie dances were a highlight of the summer.”
"Dance of the Northern Lights" is also an instrumental. Cree legends say that the northern lights are the Spirits of the Ancestors. If you whistle, they will circle around you. Try it, but be prepared. Like the northern lights, the music comes and goes and isn’t over til it’s over.
Biography: Growing up in a musical and supportive family helped Ed become a highly skilled finger-style guitarist with a great ability to entertain audiences. A singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Ed also plays fiddle, banjo, and traditional Native flute and drums. Ed has been nominated twice for BC Country Music Association’s instrumentalist of the year. Ed plays for dances, concerts, festivals, conferences and retreat gatherings throughout North America (see attached partial listing). Many people who have seen him as a musician don’t know Ed is an artist with carvings, paintings, and illustrations in collections around the world. He is also a workshop speaker and facilitator who talks about the “Circle of Courage” and the importance in his life of art and music. Ed also shares his art, music, and Cree culture in schools and with children’s groups. Website: http://www.peekeekoot.ca
• "one of the most popular acts this year" Robert McCourty, Artistic Director, Islands Folk Festival. 2008
• “The music of Ed Peekeekoot goes from foot-stomping fiddle to virtuoso classical guitar, sprinkled throughout with his Cree humour and philosophy”.
• His songs “touch our souls with their blend of traditional folk and aboriginal chants”. His voice is “rich, deep and flows over you like a soft blanket”.
• “You definitely captured and expressed the sounds of nature such as the wild animals and the howling wind through your musical interpretations. I find it difficult to illustrate the relationship of music to nature. I have studied music in Europe and Japan, but never have I experienced such music as your performance.” Ilsa Greenwold, Instructor, Julliard School of Music
• "the eighth wonder of the music world" is what Ed Peekeekoot is called in the Oct/Nov 2008 issue of Canadian Cowboy Magazine by Hugh McLennan, of the syndicated Spirit of the West radio show. He was reviewing Alan Moberg's REMEMBER ME, the first track being a duet with Alan and Ed, on their co-written song, "Red Man Plays the Blues". http://www.canadiancowboy.ca/musicreviews/
ED PEEKEEKOOT SCHEDULE
Jan 10 Private Party Duncan, BC
Jan 22 Concert Festival Place, Edmonton, Alta
Feb 6-7 Skookum Jim Festival, Whitehorse, Yukon
Mar 26 Concert 7:30 pm Capitol Theatre, Port Alberni, BC
April 11, 2010
Tsawout First Nations longhouse fundraiser
Fulford Hall, Salt Spring Island, BC
May 28-30 Festival Canadian Rockies Cowboy Festival, Nordegg, Alberta
Jun 2 - 4 Recorder Festival Performances and two School Performances for the Vancouver School Board
Jul 5 Corporate Event, Empress Hotel, Victoria
Jul 9 Envision Twilight Concert Series, Mission BC
July 10-11 Teslin Tlingit Heritage Centre, Summer Festival, Yukon
Aug 2 BC Day celebrations, Capital Festival, Victoria, BC
Aug 6-8 Headline evening concerts, Prince Albert Exhibition & Summer Fair
Aug 13-15 Stony Plain Cowboy Gathering, AB
Aug 21 Private Party , Lower Nicola
Aug 22-Princeton Traditional Music Festival
Sep 10-12 Indian Summer Festival, Milwaukee, WI
Oct 4 - Corporate Event, Royal BC Museum
Oct 16 - Tsawout longhouse fundraiser
Tsawout First Nation, Vancouver Island
Oct 22-24 Showcase for Organization of Saskatchewan
Arts Councils, North Battleford, SK
Oct 29 - Aboriginal Music Festival Gala
TCU Place, Saskatoon
Nov 26 - Cowboy Christmas Concert
Calvary Church, Kamloops, BCNov 27 Dance
Nov 27 Dance, Chemainus Seniors
Dec 4 - Private Party
Dec 18, 22, 23, 24, 30, 31
Seasonal Entertainment, Thrifty Foods, Duncan
Dec 31 New Year's Eve, Duncan Seniors
ED PEEKEEKOOT SCHEDULE 2011
Feb 12 Cariboo Cowboy Concert
with Alan Moberg
100 Mile House, BC
May 6 Dollarwatch Jamboree
July 22 JulyAMSH Pow Wow, Idaho
July 23 Gateway Festival, Bengough, SK
July 21 Duncan Summer Festival, BC
Aug 5-7 Terrace Riverside Metis Festival (Headline act, BC)
Aug 12-14 Stony Plain Cowboy Gathering,AB
Aug 27-28 Comox Valley Exhibition,Courtenay, BC
Sep 9 Cowboy Heritage Concert, Chase, BC
Sep 10 Cariboo Cowboy Concert, Watch Lake, BC
Sep 13 Fort St. James Arts Council & Nak'azdli First Nation Concert ,BC
Sep 15 University of Northern British Columbia, First Nations Centre, BC
Sep 18 Hazel Bluff (Westlock) Community Centre, concert, AB
Sep 19 Barrhead Elementary School, AB
ORGANIZATION OF SASKATCHEWAN ARTS COUNCIL'S STARS FOR SASKATCHEWAN TOUR
Sep 22 Norman Ritchie Centre, Kindersley, SK
Sep 23, Majestic Theatre, Biggar, SK
Sep 25 La Ronge Hotel and Suites, La Ronge, SK
Sep 26 La Ronge School, SK
Sep 27 Brooks Hall, Hudson Bay, SK
Sep 28 Canora Composite High School, SK
Sep 30 CJVR Performing Arts Centre, Melfort, SK
Oct 1 Wynyard Civic Centre, SK
Oct 2 Redvers Arts Centre, SK
Oct 4 7th Ave School, Assiniboia, SK
Oct 4 Prince of Wales Cultural Centre, Assiniboia, SK
Oct 6 Luseland Homecoming Hall, SK
Oct 27-29 Showcase, ONTARIO CONTACT, Parry Sound
HOMEROUTES, YUKON TOUR
Nov 24 Watson Lake, YT
Nov 25 Teslin, YT
Nov 26 Atlin, BC
Nov 27 Carcross, YT
Nov 28 Carcross School, YT
Nov 29 Whitehorse, YT
Nov 30 Whitehorse, YT
Dec 1 Haines Junction, YT
Dec 2 Whitehorse, YT
Dec 3 Whitehorse, YT
Dec 4 Mayo, YT
Dec 6 Dawson City, YT
Dec 8 Old Crow, YT
Jan 9 Dance ProPatria Legion, Victoria
30 Dance ProPatria Legion, Victoria
Feb 6 Dance Army, Navy & Air Force, Sidney
7 Maple Syrup Festival, BC Forest Discovery Centre, Duncan
15 Duncan Garage Showroom, with Alan Moberg & Steve Slade
21 "Non-A"(non-alcoholic) Cabaret: Concert & Dance
with Alan Moberg, Mahon Hall, Salt Spring Island.
22 Women's Conference, Concert, Nanaimo
27 Dance ProPatria Legion, Victoria
28 Dance, Chemainus Seniors
Mar 7 Private Party
12-15 Shows at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival
17 Entertainment, Sports Grill, Chemainus
20 Dance, Army, Navy & Air Force Sidney
21 Flute Lessons
27 Radio Interview with CBC’s Sheryl MacKay for North by Northwest
27 Pacific Contact BC Touring Council Showcase
Shadbolt Centre for the Arts. Burnaby 2:50 - 3:05
Apr 3 Dance, ProPatria Legion, Victoria
11 Dance Chemainus Seniors
17 Hammond Bay Elementary School, Nanaimo
18 Entertainment. Country Grocer, Cobble Hill
19 Flute Workshop, Beghinners, Lake Cowichan
19 Aboriginal Film Festival, Duncan
21 Duncan Manor, afternoon
25 Chemainus Arts Council, afternoon
25 Juan De Fuca Seniors
26 Flute Workshop, Advanced, Lake Cowichan
May 1 & 2 Entertainment, Eagles, Duncan
May 8 Twin Oaks, Sidney, private party
May.9 Entertainment 10am-1:30pm Market in the Square, Duncan
May. 9 Private Party 8 pm-12 Nanaimo, BC
May.11 Entertainment 11am-1pm Vancouver Island University Me'tis Awareness Day
May.14 Concert Minstrel Café , Kelowna http://www.minstrelcafe.com/index.php
May.21 Entertainment With Alan Moberg Dusty Rose Pub, 70 Mile House
May.22 Cowboy Dinner Theatre with Alan Moberg 6:30-10:30pm Clinton Secondary School, Clinton, BC Contact Patti Allison for tickets (250-457-6684)
May.30 Entertainment 12-2:00 Ladysmith Maritime Festival
May.30 Entertainment 5pm-7pm Ladysmith Maritime Festival
May.30 Dance Eagles, Ladysmith -- Installation of Officers
June 2-4 Six day concerts for Gold Trail School District #74
June.3 Evening Concert-Cooks Ferry Indian Band
June.10 Entertainment 6:30-9pm Corporate Event- Totem Gallery, Royal BC Museum
June. 12 Entertainment 8-11pm ProPatria Legion, Victoria
June. 13 Entertainment Old Farm Market, Duncan
June. 13 Dance 8-11pm Chemainus Seniors
June.15 Performance 10:15-11:15 Frank J. Ney School, Nanaimo
June.16 Concert morning Tillicum Elementary School, Victoria
June. 16 Concert afternoon George Jay Elementary School, Victoria
June. 20 Concert Live on APTN TV from Whitehorse, Yukon
June 26-28 Shows- William's Lake Stampede with Alan Moberg
Jul. 1 Canada Day Concerts Tofino & Ucluelet
Jul. 3&4 Entertainment Eagles, Duncan
Jul. 7 Entertainment ProPatria Legion, Victoria
Jul. 10-12 Atlin Arts & Music Fest. Atlin, BC http://www.atlinfestival.ca/
plus cottonwood bark carving workshops
Jul. 13 Music in the Park Whitehorse, Yukon
Jul. 15 Summer Festival Show, Charles Hooey Park, Duncan BC
Jul. 17-19 Cottonwood Festival Fort St. James http://www.cottonwoodmusicfestival.com/
Plus cottonwood bark carving workshops
Jul. 22 Summer Festival Show,Charles Hooey Park, Duncan, BC
Jul.25 Entertainment 10am-1:30pm Market in the Square, Duncan
Jul.26 Entertainment 12pm-4pm Old Farm Market, Duncan
Aug. 1 Entertainment Old Farm Market, Duncan
Aug. 2 Private Party, Duncan
Aug. 8 Dance 8-11pm Chemainus Seniors
Aug. 14 Entertainment 7-11pm Sidney Army & Navy
Aug. 16 Entertainment 12pm-4pm Old Farm Market, Duncan
Aug. 21 Dance Duncan Senior Centre
Aug. 22 Entertainment Russell Farm Market
Aug. 25 Entertainment ProPatria Legion, Victoria
Aug. 29 Entertainment Cobble Hill Fall Fair
Aug. 29 Private Party, Victoria
Sept.12 Entertainment 10am-1:30pm Market in the Square, Duncan
Sept.12 Art Show Opening Evening Chemainus Theatre
Sept.18 Concert Fundraiser Kamloops Association for Community Living
Sept. 19 Dinner, Concert, Family Dance Pritchard, BC http://www.pritchardcommunityassociation.ca/
Sept. 20 Private Party Kamloops
Sept. date tbd Concert. Fundraiser for Elks. Osoyoos
Sept. 23 National Aboriginal Housing Conference,
Sandman Signature Hotel & Resort, Richmond, BC
Sept. 25 Court Yard Cafe, Qualicum
Sept. 26 Dance Chemainus Seniors
Sept. 30 Osoyoos Elementary School, BC
Sept. 30 Tuk El Nuit elementary school, Oliver, BC
Oct. 10 Elks' Thanksgiving Concert, Osoyoos, BC
Oct. 17 Entertainment 10am-1:30pm Market in the Square, Duncan
Oct. 23 Concert Lillooet Festival Society
Oct. 24 Private Party 7pm-11pm Lake Cowichan , BC
Oct. 25 Aboriginal Festival, Vancouver Island University
Oct. 31 Entertainment Olympic Torch Celebration, Crofton
Nov. 11 Entertainment Lake Cowichan Legion
Nov. 12 Concert Port Theatre "Random Acts", Nanaimo
Nov. 17 Aboriginal Event, Victoria, BC
Nov. 28 Dance Chemainus Seniors
Dec.22 Entertainment 1:00-5:00pm Thrifty Foods, Duncan
Dec.23 Entertainment 11:00-5:30pm Thrifty Foods, Duncan
Dec.24 Entertainment 11:00-4:30pm Thrifty Foods, Duncan
Dec.30 Entertainment 1:00-5:00pm Thrifty Foods, Duncan
Dec.31 Entertainment 1:00-5:00pm Thrifty Foods, Duncan
Read the Cowboy Life Magazine January 2010 feature on Ed Peekeekoot at www.cowboylife.com (or at the end of these album notes.)
Ed Peekeekoot played in the Special, "Aboriginal Day Live 09" filmed live by APTN TV for National Aboriginal Day, June 20, on two stages, from Winnipeg and from Whitehorse. Ed performed on the Whitehorse stage. The Special was aired simultaneously on TV, Radio and the Internet.
Ed Peekeekoot’s "in the key of cree" CD nominated for Best Country CD in the 2008 Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, held in Winnipeg in conjunction with the Manito ahbee Festival. Ed is from the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation in Saskatchewan. He now lives in British Columbia.
From Patrick Doyle, CEO of NativeRadio.com, Taos, NM:
"Make no mistake, this is a master of the guitar." and
“I play over 1400 artists on NativeRadio.com and I must tell you that your music is truly some of the best I've heard. Every time I take the control board I almost always play your music. It is so excellent and so varied, that I inevitably find several slots to fit you in. Quite amazing really! "
Ed Peekeekoot performed at the Awards ceremonies of the Aboriginal People's Choice Music Awards at the 6,000-seat MTS Centre in Winnipeg, Manitoba in November 2008. His performance was filmed live by APTN TV.(Aboriginal People's Television Network) and Bellvu Express.
From Kelly Berehulka, Talent Buyer for the McPhillips St. Station Casino, Winnipeg, re the Awards ceremonies: "Ed had an awesome performance!"
And from Norm Lussier, producer of the APTN show:
"I love Ed! Great job!"
Ed was guest artist and performer at the opening reception of IceBear’s Gallery showing “Man, Myth and Magic” at the CACGV Gallery in Victoria whose newest painting, titled “Peekeekoot”, is inspired by both the man and the Ahtahkakoop culture. email@example.com. Some of Ed’s cottonwood bark carvings were on display.
Buy direct from Ed at
http://www.peekeekoot.ca; or http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/peekeekoot2
"in the key of cree" on iTunes
"Front Porch" on iTunes-Canada
• "Dance Tonight" 2008
• "in the key of cree" nominated for Best Country CD in the 2008 Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards Winnipeg
Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/peekeekoot2 and
• Front Porch (2005) Genre: Instrumental/ Folk/Acoustic. Link: http://www.cdbaby.com/cd/peekeekoot1
• Two Worlds (1988) BCCMA’s EP of the Year 1988
• Also appeared on Mộcikan – Songs for Learning Cree (2007) by Art Napoleon
Film and Radio:
• in the key of cree has charted in the Top Ten Folk/Roots/Blues at CHLY Nanaimo, CFUV Victoria, CKXU Lethbridge, CJSR Edmonton, CJSW Calgary, and played on CBC in British Columbia and Saskatchewan; CFRO, Vancouver; CFBX, Kamloops
• Full Moon Song and Kokum’s Lullaby used in Harold Joe’s film Broken Down
• Ed’s guitar instrumental Land of the Raven was the theme music for the film series, North American Indian Portraits. He was featured in that series in a film called Gentleman Cowboy of Honkytonk.
• The APTN (TV) series Beyond Words profiled Ed as artist & musician in 2006.
• Airplay on CBC and on campus & community radio in Canada and the U.S.
• The National Campus and Community Radio Association chose Wild Lilies to Wheat Fields from in the key of cree for a track on their “Dig Your Roots – Aboriginal” compilation CD, in 2006. Five national concerts followed, each broadcast live nationally on campus and community radio stations.
•Kamloops Cowboy Festival, 2008, with Alan Moberg, on YouTube.com.
Islands Folk Festival, 2008, on YouTube.com
•Performances at Festivals, Concerts, Conferences throughout North America
Performances of 2007/ 2008 include:
• North American Indigenous Games, BC
• John Arcand Fiddle Festival, SK
• Saskatoon Fringe Festival, SK
• Salt Spring Island Folk Club, BC
• Native History Month at the Native American Art Gallery, Dallas TX (with support from Canadian Foreign Affairs)
• 100 Mile House Cowboy Concert, BC
• Kamloops Cowboy Festival, BC
• Concerts Under the Stars, Salt Spring Island, BC
• Elders Conference Gathering, Quadra Island, BC
• Islands Folk Festival, Duncan. BC
• Surrey Children’s Festival, BC
• Victoria Art Gallery, BC
• Walking in Balance Conference, Fort St. John, BC
• Envision Twilight Concert Series, Mission, BC
• Mayne Island Folk Club, BC
• Dakota Dunes Casino, Saskatoon SK
• Abbotsford Agrifair, BC
• Armstrong Interior Provincial Exhibition, Stampede
• MTS Centre, Winnipeg,MN performing at the Aboriginal People's Choice Music Awards ceremonies
• Corporate Events
• 2009 Kamloops Cowboy Festival
• 2009 Atlin Festival
PRESS RELEASE#2 of 2009
ED PEEKEEKOOT FEATURES ON APTN-TV
"ABORIGINAL DAY LIVE 2009" ON JUNE 20, 2009, 2100ET
contact: Annie Palovcik
250 537 9571
National Aboriginal Day, (June 21) now marking its 13th year, was designated by the federal government in 1996 as a special day for all Canadians to celebrate the unique heritage, cultures and contributions of Aboriginal Peoples in Canada.
Aboriginal Peoples Television Network (APTN) is hosting Canada's largest national Aboriginal Day celebration, its third annual Aboriginal Day Live on Saturday, June 20, 2009 from dual venues in Winnipeg, Manitoba and Whitehorse, Yukon. The 3 1/2 hour commercial free show includes performances by such notables as Buffy St. Marie.
Ed Peekeekoot, originally from the Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation of Saskatchewan, lives in Crofton, BC. This brilliant guitarist and songwriter will perform a half hour set of songs from his CD in the key of cree. His hauntingly beautiful Kokum's Lullaby will be sung by his wife, Gail. They will be performing from Shipyards Park in Whitehorse.
Other upcoming performances in BC for Ed include Canada Day celebrations in Ucluelet and Tofino; the Atlin Arts and Music Festival (July10-12) and Fort St. James' Cottonwood Festival (July 17-19). Ed will also be offering carving workshops at both Festivals.
in the key of cree available on iTunes.
Watch Ed on YouTube
PRESS RELEASE #1 of 2009
EVENT: NON-A CABARET (non-alcoholic) CONCERT & DANCE
With ALAN MOBERG & ED PEEKEEKOOT
Mahon Hall, Salt Spring Island, BC
February 21, Doors at 7:30
Tix Acoustic Planet and Alan Moberg
Contact: Annie Palovcik firstname.lastname@example.org 250 537 9571 and to book a Non-A Cabaret in your community
Dust off your dancing shoes. And listen up! A concert and dance is happening at Mahon Hall with those two superb performers, Alan Moberg and Ed Peekeekoot teaming up again. Only a year ago, Alan and Ed were headliners at the Salt Spring Island Folk Club. And what a year it has been .
Alan Moberg was inducted into the BC Country Music Hall of Fame; he performed live on BC Global TV.. Ed Peekeekoot performed at the ceremonies for the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards at the 6,000 seat MTS Centre in Winnipeg, filmed live for TV, with a CD nominated for Best Country CD. Meanwhile, they have played at many events throughout the province, often as solo performers, sometimes together. Recently they returned from the Cariboo, where they played to sold out houses in Williams Lake, 108 Mile House and 70 Mile House. It seems people only have to hear them once and they become fans for life.
A recent Aqua article described the “tsunami of appreciation” that always takes place when Moberg performs here on his Salt Spring Island home. Alan will be honoured at this year’s Williams Lake Stampede for the 40th anniversary of his Williams Lake Stampede Song. His latest CD, REMEMBER ME was #2 on the Folk/Roots/Blues chart at CHLY Nanaimo in December. Ed has been called “the 8th wonder of the music world” by the host of a syndicated radio show. He will perform in a concert as part of a Special filmed live by APTN TV in Whitehorse on National Aboriginal Day June.20 and broadcast simultaneously on TV, radio and internet.
And now something brand new! A “Non-A (non-alcoholic) Cabaret: Concert & Dance”. These two singers have chosen uplifting songs for these times, many from Alan’s CD FARTHER ALONG and tunes from Ed’s new CD DANCE TONIGHT! The event encourages the joy of music without alcohol. The power of music and dance help us to return to the simpler pleasures, shared with others.
With guitar, fiddle, banjo, and Native flute, Ed has been playing as a solo performer for dances up and down Vancouver Island. He provides additional accompaniment and rhythm electronically. There’s lots of hope and lots of rhythm in many of Alan’s original songs, but he also loves the old soft rock of the 60’s and 70’s, songs by Elvis Presley and Roy Orbison. Ed plays Jimmy Rodgers and Chuck Berry, Louisiana country boogie and hot old fiddle tunes from the Prairie dances of his youth.. Together they get toes tapping. Soon we’re all celebrating. Ed says “At the end of the night, I’m a happy guy if you’ve got a big smile on your face and your feet hurt from dancing.”
Come early as seating is limited to provide dance space. Tickets at Acoustic Planet and from Alan himself, are $15, under 12-$5. Doors open at 7:30 p.m.for an 8:00 p.m. show.
Goodies and Non-A drinks by John of Ashlie’s Pantry. Bring an item for a food bank box if you can. Buy CDs at www.alanmoberg.com and www.peekeekoot.ca.
Music Manager and Bookings: Annie Palovcik
TK Media Salt Spring Island
ED PEEKEEKOOT, Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation
British Columbia Singer-songwriter/ Instrumentalist / Artist
I relate in many ways to the man I describe in one of my songs (Wild Lilies to Wheat Fields – © 2006) as being “a farmer, provider, a warrior and survivor, a daydream catcher, a seeker of visions and truth. He’s a hunter, sundancer, and he’s a rain cloud watcher. . .” I’m a musician and an artist but the farmer in my song and I are both blending our cultural ways with the mainstream world, holding our truth, and working to provide for our families when it seems like a long time between those vital “rain clouds” that nurture growth in the things we’ve been steadily and quietly looking after.
Music, art, and a supportive and loving family have helped me travel on a good path throughout my life. I can’t call myself self-taught but my education in art and music has been both intentional and informal, learning on my own as well as going to workshops and classes and spending time with friends who are artists and musicians. I give deep thanks for the creative and generous people in my life who have shared their gifts with me.
I would have had to work hard not to become a musician in my family, where my mother was my first guitar teacher when I was about four. Art was the one thing I excelled at and got positive recognition for in school. Life was not always easy but art and music fed my soul and do so to this day.
I was sixteen when my grandfather decided to move us away from life on the reserve and we came out to BC. He wanted us to have opportunities he didn’t see in Saskatchewan. I have lived in BC most of my life, both in the Interior and now on the Coast.
For many years, I worked as a solo musician in the mainstream country music scene – mostly in BC but also across the Prairies. Even though my Cree heritage and growing up in a musical family shaped me, I avoided being labeled as a “Native musician”. I wanted to be known as a great musician who just happened to be “Native” as I paid my mainstream dues. This all changed a few years ago after a visit to my home community, Ahtahkakoop, in Saskatchewan.
On this trip, I saw signs that the people in my community were starting to practice their cultural ways once again. There were sweat lodges and the sun dance grounds had been reclaimed. This and other important experiences opened me to a deepening interest in exploring my First Nations heritage through music and, in 2006, I released “In the Key of Cree”, a CD of original pieces from my cultural perspective.
For decades before this, I had been using prairie First Nations themes in my paintings and carvings, which are now in collections around the world. With the release of that CD, I am now working with both my music and art as contemporary expressions of my life in BC blended with my Cree heritage.
With guitar, Native flute, fiddle, drum and voice I create what I call “sound paintings”. These are the sounds and melodies heard in our dreams that take us on spirit journeys. In songs and instrumentals, I move from evoking nature, myth, and traditional ways of knowing to offering encouragement to First Nation people facing the sometimes stark realities of urban life. Raven and Coyote, tricksters and transformers, make their way into my music, stories, performances, and art.
Just as my music evokes nature and myth, these are also the themes of my paintings and carvings. While I am careful to honor BC First Nations artists by not working in their traditional style, I have been deeply influenced and inspired by them and by living close to the ocean and forest on this beautiful Island. My mystical cottonwood bark carvings of animals, birds, plants, family groupings, and spirits are like totem poles. Each image relates to the others and has spiritual significance. My carvings and wildlife paintings speak of the interconnectedness of All Life.
I love the way my music and art uplift people and give them happiness and hope. There is a spirit of renewal that new generations of children and youth are bringing to the Earth; and music and art walk hand in hand with that spirit.
I would like people to hear and see a lifetime’s work by a contemporary British Columbia artist and musician whose Cree roots have been nurtured and have taken hold in this soil.
*from Wild Lilies to Wheat Fields
Ed Peekeekoot performed compositions for Native flute and guitar from his latest CD "in the key of cree" at the opening reception of a Victoria art event, MAN, MYTH & MAGIC.. Ed’s magical music is a natural accompaniment for IceBear’s visionary paintings and sculpture. Ed also displayed some of his cottonwood bark carvings, such as his "Anasazi Moon".
Ed and IceBear have teamed up before for several art events on Vancouver Island, and most recently exhibited together in Dallas, Texas. At this event, a Dallas committee chose one piece of art by each artist to represent North American Indian cultures and these were sent as a gift to the Dalai Lama.
IceBear’s newest painting is titled ‘Peekeekoot’ A short story about the painting and its subject follows.
2008 original acrylic on canvas 47 x 49
“Long ago, when the world was young, far away beyond the waters of Gitchee Goomi, across the great plains of this country, roamed many tribes, the largest of which I think was our brothers the Cree. Out there is a great land where the prairie rose blooms and the sweet grass dances with
the wind in summer. That is the big sky country. Vast sky plains of blue parch the Earth in summer, and the
Lights that white men call Aurora frolic across the north in winter. This is the land that gave birth to people who were daring, courageous, and creative. Their dress, their teepees, and their music, all reflected the wonders of that place. Their songs still drift across the endless land, giving joy to the Spirits who live there.” The spirit of these ancient peoples lives on today with the Plains Cree of Saskatchewan. The artist has chosen as inspiration for this painting his friend Ed Peekeekoot, from the Ahtahkakoop community, to tell of their music and storytelling history. The work is not intended as a formal portrait, but the artist hopes to capture the spirit of this well loved
musician and carver. Like the great land that gave him life, Ed's musical ability seems limitless, creating magical
sound pictures with his flute, guitar, fiddle, and various other instruments he masters.
Cottonwood Bark Carving
Ahtahkakoop Cree First Nation
The Anasazi were ancient people who lived in the American southwest in cliff dwellings built in caves high above the surrounding plateau. Even though today’s Pueblo peoples claim them as ancestors the disappearance about 800 years ago of the Anasazi carries an air of deep mystery. They seem to have vanished, leaving behind their homes, belongings, and stores of food.
At the top of the Carving is the Full Moon. Normally a symbol of abundance and fertility, it is somewhat haunting as it rises above the disserted cliff dwellings.
The Wolf is a symbol of ancient teachings. This solitary path finder howling beneath the moon is telling the old stories of the ones who once lived here.
The pictograph of the figure holding the snake comes from a rock painting found at San Rafael Swell in Utah near where some of the Anasazi lived. We can only guess what message it carries from that time to this. In many cultures, the snake represents transformation. Held in the left hand it may mean transformation through intuition. On the chest of the figure is a spiral. Many cultures use the spiral to represent the journey between inner and outer consciousness. The Anasazi depended on corn and it may be corn stalks rather than feathers that adorn the head of the figure.
The Eagle is the power animal of the Elder held in its wing. Together, they represent higher vision and watch over the cliff dwellings standing empty below.
The Kiva, is the sacred circular pit built into the ground in front of the cliff dwellings. Stories are told of the ancient people being “birthed” into this world through the Kiva from the underworld.
Below the cliff dwellings, we can see Earth embodied in a sleeping face.
Cowboy Life Magazine (www.cowboylife.com) January, 2010
Story by Trudy Frisk
Whether Ed Peekeekoot is performing at the Kamloops Cowboy Festival or at a benefit for the Society for Community Living he treats his audiences exactly the same. “You treat them as well as you can, like they came to visit in your house. I try to make people happy and make them feel good. Hopefully they come out inspired.”
Audiences are impressed by this versatile instrumentalist, singer and composer. Ed plays guitar, banjo, fiddle, dobro, drum, harmonica and Native American flute. His repertoire ranges from rollicking dance numbers to thoughtful songs of the land. His work is a masterful blend of country and western, evolving aboriginal music, and unexpected elements. A guitar solo, for example, may be reminiscent of the classical playing of Julian Bream or Andres Segovia. Ed’s music reflects the many paths he has explored. “Music,” he explains,” is a bit of everything that has influenced me throughout the years.”
It began when he was a child in Saskatchewan. His mother, who played guitar in an old time dance band, took Ed with her to dances. They hitched up a team of horses, wrapped the instruments in blankets to keep them warm and away they went. His uncles played fiddle and guitar.
His mother got him his first guitar. It was hanging on the wall in his uncle’s house. Ed would stroke the strings. He always asked for it. Finally his uncle just gave it to him. His mother open tuned it, showed him how to play the first three chords, and gave him a butter knife to slide along the strings. He had his first slide guitar.
Ed jammed with his uncles on his guitar. They helped him learn the guitar but not the fiddle. They thought if they could pick it up by themselves, he should, too. His Uncle Melvin, an exceptionally good fiddle player, chummed around with Metis friends who played a lot of Metis fiddle tunes. Ed found the fiddle more difficult than the guitar to learn so he took his violin out into the bush to practice. He got the bowing down but worked hard to learn the fingering. “Nobody taught me.”
In fact Ed has never had a music teacher. He never learned scales or musical theory. When he was young he thought everybody learned to play songs by ear. He usually learned a song right away. He’d listen to his uncles, think “That’s how they did it!” and play. He refers to his songs as ” ear paintings”. “Each step was an adventure. I valued each different stage. Learning new chords was so exciting.”
When Ed was sixteen his grandfather, hoping to find opportunities for the family, moved them from the Ahtahkakoop Cree reserve in Saskatchewan to the small town of Clearwater in B.C. Ed went to work in a lumber mill there. His uncle had already made him aware there was another guitar player he should listen to, Chet Atkins.
Through Chet Atkins Ed was introduced to classical guitar, jazz and pop. He was fascinated with Atkins’ style which “sounded like two guys playing.” With his very first paycheque from the mill, Ed headed for Kamloops to a music store where he bought an electric guitar. “ It was do or die.” Ed remembers, of his decision to follow Chet Atkins’ finger-picking style.
Ed joined The Trophy Mountain Boys, a Clearwater band which played for weddings, anniversaries, and fund raisers at the Elks or Moose Halls.
Band leader, Davy Davison, an accordion player, took Ed under his wing, like an older brother, Ed says. The band had a bass player and a drummer. Ed played lead guitar and began singing then. Clearwater residents who heard the band still speak with affection and admiration of Ed’s gentle personality and exceptional talent. As well as having a play list suitable for various occasions, the band had to be adaptable. During one snowmobile dance a fight broke out at the back of the hall. Tables were overturned. As the fracas made its way toward the stage, musicians planned how to protect their instruments should the combatants reach them. Fortunately calm was restored.
After ten years Ed married and moved to Vancouver. There he got his own country-style band going. They became part of the musical scene in downtown Vancouver. It was an eye-opener for a young guy from Clearwater. Granville St. was a lot different from the Elk’s Hall back home. “ There was nobody there who was normal.”, Ed recalls.
He points out, though, that a song-writer has to have an open mind, be aware of ideas, any ideas. “ You have to be aware of looks, pay attention to something you may overhear, whether it’s on Skid Row or in a posh hotel. When people are really down and out, strong emotion comes out, you see into their spirit, their soul. People just blurt out something. That’s where great songs come from. They come from the soul. If it moves your spirit, it will move others, because we’re all connected.”
“A lot of people don’t observe, but an artist is aware of surroundings and their beauty.”
Ed remembers being on a ranch in the Cariboo. “ There was the smell of hay, horses, and leather. The sun was going down. I could hear a rumbling. Suddenly, over a huge hill, I could see dust coming up, then I could see a crowd of horses running. I like the sound of the horses calling, neighing. An artist is more aware of that kind of stuff, in fact you’re a sucker for that kind of stuff! Being aware is a natural thing; it’s not work.”
Ed points out that cowboys and traditional Indians had the same kind of life. “ They were one with the land and the elements. They were tough. Indians started owning cattle because they knew the outdoors. They were natural cowboys. Check out the buffalo hunters, riding with one string rein. “
For most of his career, Ed has performed as part of the mainstream country music community. Recently he’s reclaimed his First Nations Cree heritage. His CD “In The Key Of Cree” released in 2006 was nominated in 2008 for an Aboriginal People’s Choice Award for its Cree world view.
Ed’s great-great grandfather was one of the generation that got put on reserves. Where there had been no fences and big cattle drives, suddenly there were restrictions. He was angry and resentful. Ed’s great grandfather was still bitter. “He didn’t want the white man’s ways. He certainly didn’t want the white man’s music. I’m glad my grandfather didn’t listen to him.” Ed says firmly. “We have to live and work together. Our children and future generations are all going to have to work together.”
Ed’s music, as well as his life, is an example of the influence of cultures enriching each other. He traces the intertwined effect of previous generations and races on country music and remembers country music’s roots. One of his proudest moments was playing ‘Freight Train’ for its composer, Elizabeth Cotton, at a workshop in Puget Sound. Cotton, then in her ‘90s, praised his performance of her classic song.
“Sadly”, says Ed, “ The era of the guitar instrumentalists died out in the sixties; now there are just singers. There are still great instrumentalists out there, but nobody hears them.”
Ed is keeping that instrumental tradition alive. He has twice been nominated for Instrumentalist of the Year by the B.C. Country Music Association. Ed has had other honours. Ilsa Greenwold, instructor at the Julliard School of Music, wrote, “You definitely captured and expressed the sounds of nature, such as the wild animals and the howling wind through your musical interpretations. I find it difficult to illustrate the relationship of music to nature. I have studied music in Europe and Japan, but never have I experienced such music as your performance.”
From his home in Crofton, B.C. Ed continues his musical journey. May 28-30, 2010, he will be appearing at the Canadian Rockies Cowboy Festival in Nordegg, Alberta. August 6and 7, he will be at the Prince Albert Exhibition and Summer Fair in Prince Albert, Saskatchewan.
© 2010 Interactive Broadcasting Corporation