Folk Alliance International apologizes for cultural appropriation
Folk Alliance International has issued an apology to the Black community and praised the efforts of singer-songwriter Crys Matthews after keynote speaker Madeleine Peyroux sang Ledbelly’s “Cottonfields” during her address at this year’s conference – after acknowledging that her father was a white Creole man who grew up near plantations.
“As she spoke about the songs her white Creole father learned from the people around him, Ms. Peyroux said, ‘I came to feel as if those songs were mine.’ Hear me when I tell you, they most certainly are not,” Crys wrote in an open-hearted statement to FAI that also acknowledge Madeleine for “doing the work.”
Crys had nearly cried with happiness at the start of Madeleine’s address, she wrote, when Madeleine acknowledged her debt to the Black community as a white folk singer.
“[S]ometimes, doing the work means making mistakes, which is how we grow,” Crys wrote. “If we don’t afford each other the opportunity to learn from and with one another, we will continue to make the same mistakes.”
Aengus, in turn, acknowledge the “labor and emotional effort required of Crys to make such a statement, especially one invested with a spirit of generosity: calling in rather than calling out, inviting us to learn and reconcile rather than shaming or canceling.”
“I must also apologize,” he continued in his statement, “for the pain and trauma experienced specifically by our Black community members and all others present who were impacted, and for this late and imperfect response.
Aengus implored anyone feeling conflicted in reading his or Crys’ statements to sit with their feelings and focus on the experience of those impacted by what happened.
“Starting at the conference and in the weeks since,” he said, “we have been in conversation with community members, including Crys, and also Madeleine, who read the statement and has offered to meet with those directly involved in the conversation to date. Together we are working towards a resolution.”
Buffy Sainte-Marie cancels tour due to COVID
Buffy Sainte-Marie has cancelled her summer tour due to a bout of COVID-19. That includes her anticipated date at the Edmonton Folk Festival.
“Despite being vaccinated and following all protocols, Buffy is recovering from COVID-19,” her management wrote in a message posted to her Facebook page. “At this time, her primary focus must be on recovering, but she hopes to be on stage again soon.”
The Edmonton Folk Festival has moved William Prince into Buffy’s mainstage slot. He will open the Festival on Thursday, August 4 at 6:45 p.m.
Murray McLauchlan inducted into the Canadian Songwriter’s Hall of Fame
The Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame (CSHF) inducted Murray McLauchlan into its ranks during the Mariposa Folk Festival on Saturday. As Bev Kreller reported in her festival dispatch, the proceedings began with a speech from CSHF director Nicholas Fedor, who lauded Murray’s 35 hit singles and 11 Juno Awards. Next, the audience viewed a short video about Murray before songwriting legend Gordon Lightfoot presented him with his trophy. After a short speech of thanks, Murray called up his pals Blackie & the Rodeo Kings for a raggedly glorious version of his ode to Toronto, “Down By the Henry Moore.” (with files from Bev Kreller)