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ROOTSandBLUES: The artist fascinates with the musical reinterpretation of the poem by Robert W. Service

By James Murray


Against the backdrop of Ted Harrison’s timeless artwork depicting the Yukon and the Canadian Arctic, and the words of Robert W. Service’s memorable poem The Cremation of Sam McGee, the music of cellist, composer and artist Christine Hanson get up, roll, spin and dance on stage – not unlike the Northern Lights.

Hanson will take his work to the main stage of the 30th Annual Salmon Arm ROOTSandBLUES Festival and an afternoon seminar.

Award-winning Edmonton-based cellist and composer Hanson has been studying, performing and recording music for nearly 30 years. In addition to his classical training on the cello, he studied contemporary music theory, composition, music technology and jazz at Grant MacEwan University in Edmonton, as well as electronic music production at the SAE Institute in Glasgow, Scotland.

“Sam McGee’s piece was originally commissioned in 2007 by the Celtic Connections Music Festival in Glasgow, where I was living at the time. I knew I wanted it to be a multimedia piece. I got fed up with it for a whole year. In the end – well, I think it says who I am, where I come from and where I landed as an artist. I am thrilled to present it to the ROOTSandBLUES audience. “

Hanson will be accompanied on stage by Billi Zizi on electric guitar and vocals, Eric Doucette, keyboard, Nick La Riviere, trombone, Ivonne Hernandez, violin, Jamie Philp, acoustic and electric guitars, Mario Allende, drums, Clinton Carew, narrator and local musician Jake McIntyre-Paul on bass.

“The artwork, the poetry and the music work on so many levels. On the one hand it’s about friendship and the promises made, on the other it’s about the human condition, the struggles of life, rebirth and death, ”said Hanson. “It’s about life in simpler times and time wrapped in a foggy past. It’s also about simple joys and feeling good … for me, I guess, it’s mostly about connecting with the audience. “

In 2006, Hanson won the CBC Galaxie Award for Best New Artist at Junofest. She also toured with the Amati Tango Trio in the Arctic, she performed in Hadestown with playwright and composer Anais Mitchell and folk artist Ani DiFranco, as well as accompanying Jann Arden to Edmonton’s Winspear Center. Hanson also performed on Scottish singer-songwriter Rab Noakes’s 2018 album, Welcome to Anniversaryville, produced by BBC’s John Cavanagh. In 2020, Hanson was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award in the Instrumental Artist of the Year category.

Music captured Hanson’s heart, mind and imagination at an early age. He started playing the cello at the age of four.

Let it capture your heart, mind and imagination at 7pm on Sunday 21st August at the Main Stage. Hanson will also be attending a “Pushing The Boundaries” seminar on Saturday at 3:15 pm at the Barn Stage.

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Roots and Blues Festival Salmon Arm

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