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Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts headlines Isabel’s fifth season

[National Arts Centre Orchestra]
The National Arts Centre Orchestra will perform I Lost My Talk, based on the poem of the same name by Rita Joe, as part of first-ever Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts. (Supplied photo).

The Isabel Bader Centre for the Performing Arts is celebrating its fifth performance season by hosting the inaugural Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts, which will bring Canada’s leading and diverse Indigenous artists to the Isabel stage.

[Tanya Tagaq]
Qiksaaktu is created and performed by award-winning throat singer and vocalist Tanya Tagaq. (Supplied photo) 

The festival will kick off on March 6, 2019 with the National Arts Centre Orchestra’s performance of I Lost My Talk, inspired by the work of Mi’kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe, as well as Qiksaaktu, created and performed by award-winning throat singer and vocalist Tanya Tagaq and improvisation leader Christine Duncan. 

Other festival performances include: Resound: See Monsters + Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa with Jeremy Dutcher, Bracken Hanuse Corlett, and Dean Hunt (March 22); Wani’/Lost by Lisa Cooke Ravensbergen (March 23); and Nigaani-Gichigami. Oniatari:io  (Lake Ontario) focusing on the relationships between land and timbre and the site of the Isabel, with Jeremy Dutcher, Tanya Lukin Linklater, Peter Morin, and Bracken Hanuse Corlett (March 24).

“We are excited to share this diverse array of performances by acclaimed Indigenous artists working across theatre, dance, music, film and performance art,” says Dylan Robinson, festival curator and Queen’s Canada Research Chair of Indigenous Arts. “The Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts is situated on the traditional territory of the Anishinaabeg and Haudenosaunee peoples. Our inaugural festival takes its name from the Huron and Mohawk word for the lands we gather on: Ka’tarohkwi.”

The festival runs in tandem with the Soundings exhibition at the Agnes Etherington Art Centre, and two exhibitions by leading Indigenous artists at Modern Fuel Artist Run Centre. Through the festival, student and community audiences will be able to explore a deeper knowledge of Canada’s Indigenous cultures through a spectacular array of music, dance, theatre, and film, and engage in thought-provoking conversations that will arise as a result of increased cultural understanding. The festival will also support creation-based residencies and the mentorship of emerging Indigenous creators by senior Indigenous artists.

“Our fifth anniversary season features amazing artists and creators at the Isabel, with a focus on local, Canadian, and international artists,” says Isabel Director Tricia Baldwin. “What a privilege it is to work with Dylan Robinson in his role as the curator of the inaugural Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts. With socially-engaged art, the artists are cultural agents of change who transform the societal agenda, as the arts are powerful tools of persuasion. With this Indigenous arts festival, tremendously talented leading artists’ imaginations will soar.”

The Isabel season also includes performances by established Canadian and international artists such as the Danish String Quartet, pianist Stephen Hough, I Musici, Tafelmusik Baroque Orchestra, the jazz funk group Shuffle Demons, the Queen of Klezmer Alicia Svigals, Rachel Podger, and recent Juno Award winners Jan Lisiecki and James Ehnes.

[Tanya Lukin Linklater]
The new work Untitled (for Soundings) by Tanya Lukin Linklater, will be performed as part of Nigaani-Gichigami. Oniatari:io. (Supplied photo)

Other performances feature emerging top talent, including the Isabel debut of recent international competition winners Seong-Jin Cho, Narek Hakhnazaryan, Nareh Arghamanyan, Juilliard415, and the winner of the Isabel Overton Bader Canadian Violin Competition, Yolanda Bruno. 

With a focus on celebrating Kingston, the new Kingston Connection series includes such artists as The Abrams, Kelli Trottier, and Miss Emily, and the Kingston Children’s Corner includes Blue Canoe Productions and Triola. The Isabel partners with Kingston’s PeaceQuest in The World Remembers with Andy Rush and the Open Voices Community Choir, and Okavango African Orchestra.

Other innovative projects include Eve Egoyan’s innovative EarWitness project in collaboration with the Tone Deaf Festival (Kingston’s annual festival of adventurous sound performance), Tafelmusik’s multi-media Bach and his World project, and a collaboration with Michael Wheeler, co-creator and artistic director of SpiderWebShow, in foldA (Festival of Live Digital Art) where SWS will engage with creators across the country.

For full listings, dates and ticketing, visit the Isabel website.


The Isabel is grateful for the support of its fifth anniversary season benefactor, the Joseph S. Stauffer Foundation, and the Ka’tarohkwi Festival of Indigenous Arts benefactor, Isabel & Alfred Bader Fund, A Bader Philanthropy, Kingston Connection Series supporter, the J.P. Bickell Foundation, Media Sponsor The Kingston Whig-Standard, Hotel Sponsor Delta Hotels Marriott, Kingston Waterfront, and many donors, all of whom make the world turn at the Isabel.