Oppenheimer Blues & Hip Hop

I went to Oppenheimer Park for National Aboriginal Day. I briefly considered going to Commercial Drive for the parade or to Trout Lake for other celebrations but in the end, I decided to stick close to home and I’m glad I did. There was something genuine about today’s event. It was informal, people knew one another, nothing was hurried, and there was a feeling of ease between acts . And unlike many other cultural events, there were no commercial booths, vendor tables or food stalls  in sight — this celebration was just a gathering of neighbours and friends.

Here are some photos and some footage of the performers I saw including Haisla with Nasty, Brutish and Short; Dalannah Gail Bowen and The New Addiction:

1. Haisla with Nasty, Brutish and Short

Ok. Here’s the thing. I took some one minute videos with my camera and none of it was great but I still think you should watch them because:

  1. People keep getting into my shot which, cumulatively, is hilarious
  2. You’ll get a sense of the music and relaxed atmosphere where everyone was okay with everyone else

For more information  Haisla with Nasty, Brutish & Short check out their website.

2. Dalannah Gail Bowen

Dalannah, described as “Billie Holiday meets Howlin’ Wolf,” getting ready to howl.

Watch Dalannah greet her fan with grace. FYI, this is his  second time coming up to shake hands while she is performing. I like her.  She is cool. She is also a Downtown Eastside activist.

In all seriousness, my crappy point and shoot camera does terrible injustice to Dalannah’s talents. To fix this, I am including this official video of one of the songs from today,  “Mama’s Got the Blues.”  This song was inspired by  Dalannah’s time living on the streets when she homeless in the Downtown Eastside and addicted drugs. It remains timely for this neighbourhood, and it was really something to see her sing this live at Oppenheimer among this crowd.

For more information on Dalannah Gail Bowen check out her website.

3. The New Addiction

The New Addiction members from left to right:  Lil’D, Sunny B and Mr. John. These guys seemed a bit shy at first but they stepped it up and people couldn’t help but dance. I’ve got a lot of choppy 30 second footage to prove it but I’ll spare you and include just this:

For more information on The New Addiction check out their Facebook page.

The old Chinese lady wearing a pink hat is also seen strolling by at the beginning of the video. Somehow she fits right in. Like I said, it’s just that kind of gathering at Oppenheimer.  This old Chinese lady reminded me of a poem from the  June 15, 2010 issue of the  Carnegie Newsletter. It was by someone signed only as Al,  entitled, Whining White Boy. Here is a passage:

next thing I’m in line for coffee

I let this tiny Chinagramma into line ‘fore me

only to draw fire, raise ire

of a crybaby redneck who got riled at me

for letting an 80 year-old in line before the throng

he thought it was all wrong — ‘these Chinese —

give ’em an inch…” on and on he railed,

ranting out his hatred

as if one lady in front of him in a line for free coffee

is really gonna bust his balls…  little prick

got no human kindness in him at all

he went on to other topics, whining away

The sun comes out

A little girl waits for a balloon

Community leaders preparing for the Letting Go Ceremony for those that have experienced loss. Each of the four flags represent a direction and a “race.” A mix of sweetgrass, tobacco and some other plants are burned and each participant is given some ash to place onto the flag of choice. No photographs are allowed during the ceremony.

It was a good day.



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