Contributed Photo / Sultans of String
Walking Through the Fire artists.
Brantford’s Sanderson Centre and Symphony Orchestra hosted new album Walking Through the Fire by Sultans of String on Oct. 3.
This album is a collaboration with several Indigenous singers, songwriters and content creators. Walking Through the Fire is a response to the Truth and Reconciliations Commission’s 94 Calls to Action that ask for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to work together. The Sultans of String band has made this record with First Nation, Metis and Inuit artists as a response to this.
The album released on Sept. 15 and now the artists are going on tour across Canada. Brantford’s tour date is in early October with the band kicking things off in Markham on Sept. 28. The band will be touring for the next few months leading into the new year and capping things off in April, once again in Markham.
The inspiration for this album came when band leader Chris McKhool heard Canadian poet Duke Redbird reciting his poem, The Power of the Land.
“I went up to him and I said, ‘Hey, that was such a beautiful and moving and really deep poem. It must be a song already, right?’ And he said, ‘No, but I’d love to hear it as one,’” said McKhool. “So, we worked with him to turn it into a song and we recorded it and made a video, and it was very well received.”
From there, the idea for this album was born. It has taken almost a year, but the album has been recorded and all the voices on this album are gearing up for their Canadian tour. Artists from across the nation are flying to Ontario to begin. The album has 14 tracks, all written with Indigenous creators. The artists include Marc Meriläinen, Crystal Shawanda, Raven Kanatakta from band Digging Roots, Leela Gilday, Leanne Taneton and Shannon Thunderbird to name a few.
The process of writing this album was a great opportunity for non-Indigenous creators to collaborate with Indigenous creators. Meriläinen said he enjoyed the collaborative atmosphere of creating Walking Through the Fire.
This article was originally published in print Volume 23, Issue 2 on Thursday, Oct. 5.