Cluster Stars Song Book to Support Gord Downie’s Legacy
CALGARY, ALBERTA (July 21, 2021) – Calgary singer-songwriter Sandra Sutter has published a book that combines the talents of four artists to support iconic Canadian artist Gord Downie’s legacy of reconciliation with Indigenous peoples.
Songbook about the stars of the cluster – named after Sutter’s debut album – not only reflects the music and lyrics from its 2018 release (one year after Downie’s death), but also provides a visual interpretation of the music through photography and art.
âIt is my belief that songs are multidimensional and give meaning and color to our lives,â said Sutter, announcing the release of his songbook. âBy listening to the music, reading the lyrics, and reflecting on the art and photography in this book, I hope people come to understand and appreciate Indigenous peoples and their worldviews better.
All the benefits of Songbook about the stars of the cluster go to the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund (DWF), a national charity that is part of Downie’s Legacy dedicated to reconciliation and improving the lives of Indigenous peoples. DWF embodies the singer-songwriter’s and his family’s commitment to working with Chanie Wenjack’s family to continue the conversation that began with Chanie’s residential school story and to help our journey of collective reconciliation through to a combination of awareness, education and action.
âAfter learning about Chanie Wenjack’s story, Gord spent his later years learning about residential schools and the impact they continue to have today. He also used his talent to share Chanie’s story and urge all Canadians to ‘do something’ to advance reconciliation and build a better Canada, âsaid Sarah Midanik, President and CEO, DWF . âHaving artists like Sandra to continue Gord’s work and make sure Chanie is never forgotten is phenomenal. We are very grateful for her support as Artist Ambassador and through songbook. “
Sutter, a Cree-MÃ©tis who was adopted and raised by a non-Indigenous family, says she never had the opportunity to meet Gord Downie, but shares his vision of reconciliation and wants to support his legacy through the Songbook about the stars of the cluster.
“The songs of Cluster stars aim to bring worldviews closer together and provide people with the opportunity to explore their own thoughts and feelings through music, words and images, just as Gord Downie has promoted truth and reconciliation through Secret path“Sutter said.
Secret path is a 10 song album and graphic novel produced by Downie in collaboration with Jeff Lemire. It tells the story of Chanie Wenjack, a 12-year-old boy who died more than 50 years ago during his escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario.
Sutter’s songbook includes music and lyrics from her Cluster stars album, as well as images by photographer Ramsey Kunkel (Strathmore, AB), coloring illustrations by Delree Dumont (Nakusp, BC) and drawings by Brooke Glover (Calgary, AB). His song, Indian in the Child, also reflects the legacy of residential schools.
Cluster stars was recognized for Best American Recording at the 2018 Native American Music Awards in Seneca, New York. Sutter, along with Juno Award winners Chris Burke-Gaffney (The Pumps / Orphan) and Vince Fontaine (Eagle & Hawk / Indian City), were recognized for Best Producer / Engineer at the 2019 Indigenous Music Awards. Most recently, Sutter was recognized as MÃ©tis Artist of the Year at the Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards held online June 12.
Songbook about the stars of the cluster and the album are available from Sandra Sutter website. All songbook donations go to DWF to support their programming and events.
Production of Songbook about the stars of the cluster was made possible by the Calgary Arts Development Association.
About cluster stars
Cluster Stars was inspired and supported by Elders Reg Crowshoe and Rose Crow Shoe of the Piikani First Nation in southern Alberta. The album was named after a design on the family’s teepee flaps; the light creates an image of star clusters on the teepee floor and represents a safe space to gather and share. In this context, Cluster Stars represents the bringing together of indigenous and non-indigenous peoples in a spirit of reconciliation.
About the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund
Inspired by Chanie’s story and Gord’s call to build a better Canada, the Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund aims to strengthen cultural understanding and pave the way for reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. Our goal is to improve the lives of Indigenous peoples by strengthening awareness, education and connections among all peoples of Canada.
For more information or to schedule an interview:
Media Relations (Sandra Sutter)
Manager, Marketing and Communications
Phone: 1-844-944-4545 ext. 33