In conjunction with the first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation, a music video presentation titled We Were Children will be released and an NWT singer has a prominent role in the piece.
Launched in July, a national online series titled Understory brought a different, episodic approach to online presentation. It avoids livestream-based performances and takes on cross-Canada collaborations, blending them into audio-visual collages.
The most recent monthly episode — the third — was created just after the discovery of the 215 bodies of Indigenous children near a former Kamloops, B.C. residential school. This had a significant impact on the contributions to the second set, a collaboration between Indigenous NWT-born singer Michelle Lafferty, Halifax-based musician Danielle Jakubiak and Vancouver vocalist Viviane Houle.
In honour of the first National Day for Truth and Reconciliation on Sept. 30, the musicians and the series organizers have adapted a five-minute passage of the piece and will distribute it via YouTube and an audio-only version will be available for purchase on the website Bandcamp .
“For me it was super powerful and, like every community that’s going through it right now, it’s a really tough subject,” said Lafferty. “(We’re) using music as a medium of getting voices out there and having it be not forgotten, not publicized, and having Indigenous voices be at the forefront of this. It was tough.”
Lafferty led creative efforts on the conception.
“There was a few times I recorded and I just started crying because it’s exhausting to keep seeing this stuff being resurfaced all the time,” she said
Her vocals for the piece were recorded days after the discovery of the 215 unmarked graves.
“Now that it’s finally happening, it’s just bringing so many emotions together, and we’re able to finally have our voices heard — to continue to have our voices heard,” she said. “With this project, they just totally let my voice and Indigenous voices be amplified (as well as) having the platform to be able to do it in a safe creative space.”
Upon completion, Lafferty, her fellow musicians, and the founders of Understory — musicians Nicole Rampersaud, Germaine Liu, and Parmela Attariwala — were “sufficiently moved to excerpt this section as a standalone video and Bandcamp recording honouring Canada’s very first National Day of Truth and Reconciliation.”