Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Buffy Sainte-Marie Headlines SummerStage Festival in NYC's Central Park

Above: Buffy Sainte-Marie headlining a roster of aboriginal performers, including Iskwé and A Tribe Called Red, in New York City’s Central Park on July 9. (Photo: Michael Seto)

The Wild Reed's special countdown to the release of Buffy Sainte-Marie's new album, Medicine Songs, continues with the sharing of an excerpt from Leeanne Root's Indian Country Today's July 17 article about Buffy's headlining of this year's SummerStage music festival in New York City's Central Park.

NOTE: For the first installment of this series, click here. For my photographs of Buffy in concert in Minnesota and Wisconsin last summer, click here.


Three aboriginal performers including Iskwé, A Tribe Called Red, and Buffy Sainte-Marie brought a diverse crowd of some 3,000 to New York City’s Rumsey Playfield in Central Park on July 9 for a free concert.

“You got a whole lot of Canadians here, eh?” Buffy Sainte-Marie jokingly asked the crowd when she took the stage after Iskwé and A Tribe Called Red.

She had the crowd on their feet and swaying to songs like “Up Where We Belong,” “Starwalker,” and “The War Racket.”

Buffy Sainte-Marie talked about activism and instead of war having a school to teach alternative conflict resolution before singing her song “Universal Soldier.”

She got the crowd going speaking the lyrics to “Carry It On.” She asked the crowd “Are you here to improve?” And reminded everyone that “We’re only here by the skin of our teeth as it is.”

. . . Even though having all three of these performers on the same stage may seem like a stretch because they all sound so different, the crowd loved it. As people were leaving, many noted how amazing the show was.

“Buffy Sainte-Marie is an artist I first saw perform live in a church in Montreal several years ago, and I have wanted to bring her to SummerStage ever since, not specifically because she is a pioneering indigenous voice, but simply because she is an amazing musician and performer,” City Parks Foundation Executive Artistic Director Erika Elliott told ICMN.

“The rest of the line-up then evolved organically to include other indigenous voices, because all were acts we wanted to have in the SummerStage season. A Tribe Called Red has been a favorite of mine for years now as well, and I had struggled to find the right show to have them on. Once I confirmed Buffy Sainte-Marie, it honestly seemed like a stretch sonically to book them on the same bill, but after talking with all and knowing Buffy and A Tribe Called Red both liked the idea, we moved ahead,” Elliott said. “I gauge response by crowd response, and the night was really well-received by everyone in attendance, especially since the audience was so diverse.”

It certainly was a diverse evening to remember. Even Buffy Sainte-Marie commented that the only Canadian aboriginal musician missing was Tanya Tagaq.

– Leeanne Root
Excerpted from “Buffy Sainte-Marie Headlines
Aboriginal Performances in NYC

Indian Country Today
July 17, 2017


Following is a 2010 performance by Buffy and her band of her song "Starwalker."

Starwalker he's a friend of mine
You've seen him looking fine
He's a straight talker, he's a Starwalker
Don't drink no wine
Ay way hey o heya

Wolf Rider she's a friend of yours
You've seen her opening doors,
She's a history turner, she's a sweetgrass burner
And a dog soldier
Ay hey way hey way heya

Lightning Woman, Thunderchild
Star soldiers one and all
Oh, Sisters, Brothers all together
Aim straight, stand tall

NEXT: Buffy Sainte Marie, "One of the Best
Performers Out Touring Today"

For The Wild Reed's special series of posts leading-up to the May 12, 2015 release of Buffy's most recent album, Power in the Blood, see:
Buffy Sainte-Marie and That "Human-Being Magic"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Lesson from the Cutting Edge: "Go Where You Must to Grow"
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "Sometimes You Have to Be Content to Plant Good Seeds and Be Patient"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Power in the Blood

For more of Buffy Sainte-Marie at The Wild Reed, see:
For Acclaimed Songwriter, Activist and Humanitarian Buffy Sainte-Marie, the World is Always Ripening
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "I'm Creative Anywhere"
A Music Legend Visits the North Country: Buffy Sainte-Marie in Minnesota and Wisconsin – August 2016
Two Exceptional Singers Take a Chance on the "Spirit of the Wind"
Photo of the Day – January 21, 2017
Buffy Sainte-Marie Wins 2015 Polaris Music Prize
Congratulations, Buffy
Happy Birthday, Buffy!
Actually, There's No Question About It
For Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Well-Deserved Honor
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Singing It and Praying It; Living It and Saying It
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Still Singing with Spirit, Joy, and Passion
Something Special for Indigenous Peoples Day
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "The Big Ones Get Away"

Opening image: Michael Seto.

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