UNDER THE NORTHERN SKY Soaring: A Musical Antidote

Under the Northern Sky - NASA image

Under the Northern Sky - NASA imageTHUNDER BAY – Entertainment – These days my mind is filled with worry. I have been watching the events unfolding in the news concerning the Ukraine. I find it unbelievable that major super powers are taunting each other on Russia’s doorstep in the Ukraine.

This current major conflict wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that many of the countries involved have nuclear weapons. The only time I am aware that tensions have been so high among super powers with nuclear arms was during the Cuban Missile Crisis in 1962. It is alarming and upsetting that we are at the precipice of the third world war again.

I am grateful that I have found some escape from all this bad news through my regular meditation of listening to music. In particular, I am thankful that my friend John Elliott has finally produced his album of instrumental music titled ‘Soaring’. His long awaited musical work is like an antidote for me to the worry of all this talk of war.

I have known John for many years and I was welcomed into his family of musicians when I first came to live away from my home community. I was surprised to find myself around the piano with his parents Rita and Everett and his brother Donald singing songs at Christmas and other festive occasions. Donald is also an accomplished musician.

John is an incredible pianist and keyboard player who has worked with Native musicians like my cousin Ron Kataquapit. John provided all the keyboard work on Ron’s album called ‘Spirit Of The Wolf’.

I have been fortunate to have had private performances over the years from John where he lives with his wife Colleen near London, Ontario. I, like many of his family and friends, have been waiting for him to produce an album. His masterpiece ‘Soaring’, really is meditative music and like the title suggests, it can lift your spirits.

John is a northerner from Iroquois Falls, Ontario and you can hear his Irish and Scottish roots in ‘Soaring’. You can also hear songs that have a jazz fusion feel and calming melodies.

Through the magic of modern technology John has managed to produce this album from his own studio. The quality of this production is amazing and I have witnessed his knowledge in terms of putting together all of the necessary electronics, sound, music production and promotion. I have always been amazed every time I have seen him sit at a piano or keyboard where he effortlessly pours all kinds of wonderful melodies from his instrument. I have learned over the years how to play some guitar and I can identify with what it is like to feel the music you produce whether it be sad, happy, angry or in love.

My favourite song on his new album ‘Soaring’ is ‘Just For Fun’. This tune reminds me of Europe and Paris in particular and its upbeat melody takes me back to the streets of that incredible city. John is what I would describe as a big picture thinker and I see his interest in physics, the stars, the universe and beyond in songs like ‘Soaring’, ‘Space Walk’ and ’13 Lightyears’.

What really excites me is the fact that all of this wonderful music can be purchased for less than the price of a sandwich online. You can get your very own copy of ‘Soaring’ by just going to www.cdbaby.com/cd/johnelliott1 or by searching for ‘Soaring by John Elliott’ on itunes. You can also visit his website for more information at johnelliottproductions.com

Here is an opportunity for people to support a Canadian musician. At the same time you can find that antidote to worry that I have discovered in his soaring melodies. Perhaps if we had the artists and the most creative people on our planet leading us we would not be in the current world crisis at the brink of nuclear war. It seems that we have given up on finding and putting good people in power that promise to make a better world for future generations. It is difficult to find a way to change this game of war but maybe and just maybe saner minds will prevail and humanity will avoid another close call in the nuclear age. Perhaps it will be the artists and musicians that will provide us with enough strength and hope to make a change for real peace.Xavier Kataquapit
www.underthenorthernsky.com Under the Northern Sky - NASA image

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Under The Northern Sky is the title of a popular Aboriginal news column written by First Nation writer, Xavier Kataquapit, who is originally from Attawapiskat Ontario on the James Bay coast. He has been writing the column since 1997 and it is is published regularly in newspapers across Canada. In addition to working as a First Nation columnist, his writing has been featured on various Canadian radio broadcast programs. Xavier writes about his experiences as a First Nation Cree person. He has provided much insight into the James Bay Cree in regards to his people’s culture and traditions. As a Cree writer, his stories tell of the people on the land in the area of Attawapiskat First Nation were he was born and raised.