Cris Derksen

Cris Derksen

Juno nominated Cris Derksen is an internationally respected Indigenous cellist and composer. In a world where almost everything — people, music, cultures — get labelled and slotted into simple categories, Cris Derksen represents a challenge. Originally from Northern Alberta, she comes from a line of chiefs from NorthTall Cree Reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s. Derksen braids the traditional and contemporary, weaving her classical background and her Indigenous ancestry together with new school electronics to create genre-defying music.

As composer Derksen has a foot in many worlds. Her 2019 compositions include Maada’ookii Songlines, a Mass Choral piece for 250 singers commissioned by Luminato Festival; Rebellion, a short symphonic piece commissioned by the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra; Iron Peggy, a theatre piece commissioned by the Vancouver Children’s Festival; and a new performance art piece commissioned by the National Art Gallery of Canada, Ikumagiialit. 2018 highlights include a DORA Award for Best Sound Design for Theatre 2018 for Kiinalik: These Sharp Tools; TIFF Premier Biidaaban (the dawn comes), a short animation film by Amanda Strong; Ka:hawai Dance Company production of BloodTides; Kamloopa Theatre production; 2018 Banff Centre for the Arts String Quartet Residency commission White Mans Cattle; and Wood Quintet International commission 5 bucks per head.

As a performer Derksen performs nationally and internationally solo and with some of Canada’s finest, including Tanya Tagaq, Buffy Sainte Marie, Naomi Klein, and Leanne Simpson, to name a few. Recent destinations include Hong Kong, Australia, Mongolia, Sweden, and a whole lot of Canada, the place Derksen refers to as home.

Unmuted is a celebration of the powerful voices, words, and music of seven Ontario artists.  It’s also a celebration of listening—with a full heart—at a time in our history when distancing and masking have quieted our sense of touch, quickened our other senses, and sent us to our screens and earbuds in search of meaning, clarity, enthrallment, and beauty. In a happy partnership that will span four months, Hillside and Silence present music and spoken word performances that will command your screen every other Friday starting October 16th, 2020 and culminating in Hillside Inside in February 2021.  First up next Friday is Joni NehRita. Jamaican-Canadian artist Joni NehRita writes songs about unity, hope and social justice. Her jazz-tinged brand of soul is infused with rhythms & sounds from her Afro-Caribbean background. A multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer, she has a gift for writing infectious, well-crafted songs that are deeply personal. This year NehRita…

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