Eagleheart Drummers/Singers

One of (Creation Cycle artist) Peter Maqua's friends, Toronto artist Diane Pugen, has been involved with the local Native community for some time. Back in 1991, the Toronto Native drummers and singers Eagleheart had just finished working on the soundtrack to the Canadian feature film Clearcut (starring Graham Greene in a truly chilling performance) and were wanting to release a cassette of traditional drum performances in order to raise some money. Diane, who was friends with one of the drummers, artist Brian Marion, asked me if I would record them and produce a cassette for them. So, one afternoon I carted my ancient analog recording equipment down to the Native Friendship Centre in Toronto and set up in the gymnasium, which is where Eagleheart usually practiced. It proved to be a tougher gig than I thought at first: the acoustics were terrible, there were kids running around all over the place, and the drummers would periodically stop in the middle of a performance to chat or run outside for a smoke. Oh, and there was this one performance where the guys were really cooking, really warmed up and really smokin', and... the tape ran out in the middle. Damn! All that notwithstanding, the end result is still--in my opinion--one of the better-quality Native recordings I've heard. At least, I think so, anyway. Through this project I became friends with the leader of Eagleheart and then-president of CASNP (Canadian Alliance in Solidarity with Native People) Jimmy Dick, and later sat a vigil with him at Queens Park during the Oka crisis. But that's another story...

The Eagleheart Drummers/Singers, at the time of this recording, were:
Jimmy Dick - James Bay Cree
Oliver Dick - James Bay Cree
Brian Marion - Six Nations Mohawk Chippewa
Malcolm Norris - Saskatchewan Cree
Marie Gaudet - Ontario Ojibway
Loretta Tait - B.C. Gitksan

The tracks on this tape were later re-released by Holborne Distributing on a CD called Songs from Mother Earth. I have no idea if it is still available. I may at some point remaster it digitally and re-release it as a CD, but that project is currently back-burnered.

Track List:

  1. Grand Entry Song
  2. Intertribal Song
  3. Round Dance Song (I)
  4. Fancy Dance Song
  5. Come Out Fighting
  6. Fred's Song
  7. Round Dance Song (II)
  8. Grass Dance Song
Return to Projects page