Straight from PuSh International Performing Arts Festival: The Cris Derksen Trio!


Juno Nominee Cris Derksen is an Indigenous cellist/composer known for building layers of sound into captivating performances. The music of Cris Derksen bears the mark of a true original. Classical, Indigenous and urban elements combine: you may get the propulsive pounding of powwow music, the head-nodding rhythms of a hip hop track, the metronome thumps of a techno mix, or all three in the same song. Her instruments are loop pedals, a drum machine and, of course, the cello: its melodies are plaintive but catchy, growing in number as the song progresses. These hooks repeat like echoes, part of a thick mixture yet distinct within it.

Originally from Northern Alberta, there is a line of chiefs from North Tall Cree reserve on her father’s side and a line and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s side. Her music braids the traditional and contemporary in multiple dimensions, weaving her traditional classical training and her Aboriginal ancestry with new school electronics, creating genre defying music.

The Orchestral Powwow Project, is Cris’s 3rd Studio Album released in 2015. It was conceived by Derksen and Robert Todd of the Tribal Spirit Powwow label, the project responds to a perceived need to truly incorporate Indigenous artists in art that claims Indigenous credit. After an exploration with Robert of ideas around what defines Orchestral Powwow, Cris spent a year composing and transcribing using Tribal Spirit’s library of powwow albums. The dynamic live performances comprise of; Cris on cello, 6-members of The Chippewa Travelers powwow group, Jennifer Kriesberg on vocals, Nimkii Osawamick Hoop Dancing, Jessie Baird on Timpani and an 8-piece symphonic ensemble.

Derksen’s 2010 debut album “The Cusp” was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award, and won the 2011 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Instrumental Album of the Year. She was honored with funding from First Tracks, to make POW WOW WOW, an APTN Music Video, released in early 2012. Cris released her sophomore solo album in May 2013 “The Collapse”. In this she delves further into electronic cello pieces while staying true to her cinematic flair. The Collapse is an album motivated by personal relationships and the environmental concerns that Canadians face as the dependency of energy changes the face of Canada and the world. The 13 track album features Derksen’s own compositions with Joy on Drums and guest artist Kinnie Starr.

Performing with some of Canada’s elite musicians Cris has performed and collaborated with Buffy Sainte Marie, Tanya Tagaq, Kanye West, Naomi Klein and A Tribe Called Red to name a few. Derksen mixes styles like a painter mixes colours. Haunting, often mournful, yet somehow always celebratory, her music speaks to her mixed heritage and answers our multicultural needs. It’s as if Derksen has voices inside her, speaking from our nation’s past and the global present all at once.

Sponsored by the Campbell River Mirror, What’s On Digest and Coast Discovery Inn, the Tidemark Theatre proudly presents, The Cris Derksen Trio at the Tidemark Theatre on February 8, 2017.   Tickets are $29 for Members and $34 for Non Members (+applicable taxes and fees) and can be purchased at the Box Office Tuesday through Thursday between 12pm and 4pm.  Tickets are also available online: OR 287.PINK!