Get ready to Rumble!

Musicians (from left) Ritchie Franzen, Ryan Mickeloff, Marty Isaacs and Kenny Lee Lewis rehearse for Rumble: The Concert. Brian Thompson / The Expositor

Share Adjust Comment Print

The influences of Indigenous artists across a number of musical genres are widespread,

And they will be celebrated in Rumble: The Concert, which has two performances Wednesday at the Sanderson Centre in Brantford.

The concert features an impressive lineup of musicians performing songs as a narrative to reveal the Indigenous musicians, who played key roles in shaping myriad musical categories, including folk, rock, jazz and blues.

“The concert will tell the story of a profound and, until now, missing chapter in the history of North American and worldwide popular music,” says Tim Johnson, a Mohawk from Six Nations, who is the producer and director of the concert.

Johnson curated the 2010 exhibition Up Where We Belong: Native Musicians in Popular Culture, at the Smithsonian National Museum of the American Indian, which in turn, inspired the making of the award-winning documentary film Rumble: The Indians Who Rocked the World.

So, Rumble: The Concert seems a natural progression.

Derek Miller, a two-time Juno Award winner from Six Nations, will perform, along with a number of other notable musicians, including Kenny Lee Lewis of the Steve Miller Band, Mark LaForme, The Ollivanders, Peter Shea, and female vocalists Charly Lowry, Roxanne Rendle and Juliet Dunn.

“It’s a multimedia event, using clips from the movie, interjecting them between songs, telling the story of Native American contributions to the blueprint of contemporary music,” says Miller. “We’re playing songs live, from selections of Native American legends that helped contribute to the lexicon of that.”

Rumble: The Concert will feature songs by Indigenous luminaries such as Charley Patton, Mildred Bailey, Link Wray, Jesse Ed Davis, Robbie Robertson, Buffy Sainte-Marie and Jimi Hendrix.

Wray, a guitarist, songwriter and vocalist of Shawnee Nation heritage, is regarded as a pioneer of the power chord and distortion. Radio stations in Boston and New York City banned Wray’s 1958 recording of an edgy instrumental piece called Rumble, fearing it could incite violence.

Musicians, including Neil Young, Jimmy Page, Jeff Beck and the Foo Fighters, cite Wray as an influence. According to Rolling Stone magazine, The Who’s Pete Townshend said, “If it hadn’t been for Link Wray and Rumble, I never would have picked up a guitar.”

“I’ve been a big fan of Link Wray for so many years,” say Miller.

“To see him getting the accolades he deserves, along with all these other great artists, like Mildred Bailey, is just awesome.”

Miller says it’s an honour and privilege to be part of this show. He credits Johnson as a visionary, from putting together the Smithsonian exhibit, to producing the film, and assembling the impressive roster of musicians for the concert.

“I’m very blessed to be able to do the music of these icons,” says Miller.

“It’s such a great thing to celebrate our people, our music, and our culture. There’s so much to learn from each other.”

Show times for Rumble: Concert are 1 p.m., with reduced ticket prices for students, and 7 p.m.

Bethompson@postmedia.com

Twitter: @EXPbthompson

 

Comments