WINTERLUDE’S Canada 150 Signature Concert

Photos by Emily Jefferies

It was the second weekend of Winterlude festivities, and Saturday night welcomed the Canada 150 Signature Concert as apart of the Sub Zero Concert Series. Pan-territorial artists associated with Music Yukon and Canada C3, a project of the Students on Ice Foundation, came to share their talents.

The minus thirteen degree weather didn’t stop locals and international visitors from enjoying the Canadian entertainment in Confederation Park. From glowing ice sculptures to signature Beavertails, it was a truly captivating welcome.

Yukon’s DJ Dash warmed up the crowd and helped to introduce the first signature artist; Yukon’s own Dakhká Khwáan Dancers. These Traditional Inland Tlingit Dancers came from Whitehorse to showcase their culture through dance, song and storytelling. The group was created by Marilyn Jensen in 2007 to bring Yukon’s communities together, and to keep their rich history and values alive. The drummers circled the space while a story was told center stage. Each member displayed a classic Tlingit outfit from ancestors of the tribe. The embellished details flowed in and out of Dash’s electronic light sequence.

Next up was Sarah MacDougall. Born in Sweden and based in Whitehorse, she graced the stage with a soft angelic honesty. Keeping it simple with her acoustic guitar, she sang about her time in the Yukon. “Permafrost” is an ode to her northern territory experience about living in a cabin in the woods. Bears, wolves, two hours of daylight, and an outhouse: the audience was all ears.  She also sang her classic “Sometimes You Lose, Sometimes You Win”, about life’s unpredictable journey, and the reminder to love oneself.  Her fingerless gloves didn’t stop her from sharing her poetic songs. She graced the stage various times throughout the evening.

Viewers took breaks to enjoy Québec’s classic maple taffy. Freshly cooled maple syrup on sticks is a must French Canadian winter tradition. On either side of the park, the public had the chance to view professional ice sculptures by worldwide artists, apart of the Challenge in the Sky contest.

Elisapie Isaac, or known just by her stage name Elisapie, also made an appearance. She kicked off her Travelling Love tour at the start of the month at the Canadian Museum of Civilization, and then brought her folk pop assonance to the CIBC stage last night. Born in Salluit Québec, she was raised by an Inuk mother and a father from Newfoundland. As a filmmaker and songwriter, her Inuit upbringing is woven into everything she creates. Her Inukitut melodies, and both French and English lyrics were felt throughout the crowd.  If you missed her, she can be seen at the Théâtre Capitole in Québec on February 13th.

Nunavut athlete, actor and community leader Johnny Issaluk came to the stage to exhibit a few competitions of the Inuit Games. He wore a full seal skin outfit, which definitely made him the warmest person of the night. He expressed the importance of these games, as it helps to keep the mind clear and body strong in the -50 degree weather. Strength, agility and endurance are the three main categories. He performed his signature one foot high kick, where the athlete must hit a ball hanging from a gallows and land back on his standing foot. To learn more about the games, Johnny has them outlined in his book, Games of Survival: Traditional Inuit Games for Elementary Students.

Nunavut Inuit elder David Serkoak brought his self-made drums and drum dancing techniques to the park. He was dressed head to toe in Inuit fashion, which likely made him the second warmest person of the night. Both Johnny and David are educators with the Students on Ice foundation, which helps to educate the youth about the importance of the Polar Regions.

The night ended with DJ Sandy Duperval. The Montreal native currently resides in Toronto, but was so happy to be closer to home for the evening. The audience was definitely feeling the cold by 9:30, but Sandy heated things up again with her powerful voice and electronic beats. She was taught by Cissy Houston at a young age, and made a dedication to her daughter Whitney with a rendition of “Dance with Somebody”.  As a perfect end to a very Canadian day, it began to snow lightly. The crowd kept each other warm by dancing and singing along to Sandy’s musical mixes.

She concluded the concert by thanking everyone. “I’m so lucky to represent Canada all over the world doing what I love”, she said.

February 17th, 18th, and 19th are the last dates to catch the Sub Zero Concert Series. It is highly recommended if you want to have an inspiring Canadian experience.