5 Can’t-Miss Events at Talking Stick 2015 – Vancouver’s Aboriginal Culture Fest

Throat singer Tanya Tagaq

Throat singer Tanya Tagaq

One of Canada’s biggest celebrations of Aboriginal music, art and theatre is coming to Vancouver.

The 14th Talking Stick Festival is on Feb. 17-March 1. Dozens of events and performances throughout the city highlight everything from traditional dancing and drumming to contemporary spoken word and multimedia performances.

Here’s a look at 5 can’t-miss events at the 2015 Talking Stick Festival in Vancouver:

Throat singing on Commercial DriveThroat singing is a unique Inuit tradition which combines low growling and husky chanting.  It’s absolutely mesmerizing and you can catch the undisputed star of throat singing, Tanya Tagaq, doing a solo performance at Talking Stick. Tagaq’s recent hit album, Animism, was named the second best Canadian album of the year by the CBC. York Theatre; Feb. 28; $35

Aboriginal hip-hop all-starEast Vancouver’s own K.A.S.P has performed his brand of hip-hop with a pow-wow twist alongside the likes DMC (of RUN DMC), Moka Only and Chino XL.  Now, he brings his music back to the city where he got his start.  His powerful songs focus on his personal struggles, community, family and hopes for a brighter tomorrow. York Theatre; Feb. 26; $20 

Original theatre in YaletownThe probing, eyebrow-raising and very funny play Salt Baby explores what it means to look white but have native ancestry. The original performance dives into what it means to be “invisibly ethnic” and raises questions about how we expect Aboriginal people to look and act. Roundhouse Community Centre; Feb. 18-Feb. 20; $18-$25

Image sourced from Aboriginal BC

Image sourced from Aboriginal BC

Powwow CelebrationOne of the festival’s most popular events, this indoor powwow features traditional and contemporary dancers performing in elaborate regalia – recreating the energy and beauty of the powwow experience.  Join in during interactive dances and enjoy the Aboriginal artisan fair with crafts and food.  Roundhouse Community Centre; Feb. 22; free (admission by donation)

First Nations Dancing 101Interested in learning about First Nations song and dance and trying a few steps out for yourself? This free workshop by Raven Spirit Dance shows participants basic movements and offers background on dance traditions among the Coastal First Nations of B.C.  Scotiabank Dance Centre; Feb. 28; free (admission by donation)

For a full listing of events, visit the Talking Stick Festival website.

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