Buffy Sainte-Marie rocks Stars for Saskatchewan stage

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Singer songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie showed her diverse talents by spanning a wide variety of musical genres during a pair of Stars for Saskatchewan concerts at the Sky Centre this past weekend.

Oh, and the lady can rock.

Now in her 70s, the throaty, raspy voiced Sainte-Marie was backed by the three-piece band of guitarist Jesse Green, drummer Michel Bruyere and bass player Leroy Constant, who seamlessly switched from hard rocking songs to melodic accompaniment for Sainte-Marie's unmistakable voice.

Saskatchewan's own Sainte-Marie took concert goers on a pleasingly diverse evening of music which included her instantly recognizable anti-war anthem Universal Soldier along with Up Where We Belong which won a 1983 Academy Award Winning song from An Officer And A Gentleman.

Most renown for her folk hits during the 60s and 70s, her performance also delved into Country and Western (The Piney Wood Hills, I'm Gonna Be A Country Girl Again, plus her encore song He's An Indian Cowboy in the Rodeo), Pop (Until It's Time For You To Go, which was covered by artists such as Bobby Darin, Andy Williams, Cher, Elvis, Neil Diamond, The Boston Pops Orchestra), Blues (Not the Lovin' Kind), and even Rockabilly (Blue Sunday).

Sainte-Marie continues to use her songwriting as an activist, highlighted by No No Keshagesh. She noted that Keshagesh means Greedy Guts and the lyrics compare the corporate mentality to that of a puppy who eats all their own food and then wants everyone else's.

She also performed to former musical gems that did not receive a lot of airplay over the years. The song Generation was from the time period when she was actually a blacklisted artist during the Johnson and Nixon administrations. The song Soldier Blue was the title song for a movie about Native American Genocide which was shown world wide but was rarely shown in North American theatres during the Nixon years.

Many of her recent songs infuse aboriginal melodies into the mix, including the uptempo Cho Cho Fire, Darling Don't Cry, Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, along with the rock anthems Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee and the high energy Starwalker.

A number of the songs she performed were from the 2009 release Running for the Drum, and she laughs that she and the band are now in the fourth year of what was originally just a two year tour to support the new music.

The opening act for her shows in Swift Current were the immensely talented Canadian folk group The Fugitives.

The Fugitives are built around the duo of Brendan McLeod and Adrian Glynn, and for these shows they were joined by Chris Quinn on banjo, and Ali Romanow on fiddle.

Sharing a series of smartly written and and catchy folk songs, the quartet performed a 40 minute set of acoustic music.

Touring in support of their October 2013 CD release, Everything Will Happen, the indie folk quartet opened the concert with Love Affairs, the opening track from their new CD. They also chose to perform Sturdy from their latest release.

Other songs during their portion of the evening showcased a pair of tunes from their third full length recording Eccentrically We Love (Start A War and Breaking Promises), while the middle part of the concert featured their individual talents. McLeod shared a laugh with his witty Robocalls Song, Romanow and Quinn teamed up on The Ballad of Rambling Rose written in memory of Romanow's grandmother, while Glynn took centre stage for his sorrowful Bruise.

The group wrapped up their set with an acapella version of Haunted, a stand out song from their debut 2007 release In Streetlight Communion.

While it was just a quick sample of the group's sound, The Fugitives quickly won over a number of new fans and many requests to see more of this talented group.

Organizations: Swift Current Allied Arts Council, Living Sky Casino

Geographic location: Saskatchewan, Qu'Appelle Valley, Swift Current

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