|Power in the Blood|
Buffy Sainte–Marie — Power in the Blood
≈ Singer–songwriter known as much for diligent political activism as for her soul–piercing folk music.
Birth name: Beverly Sainte–Marie
Born: February 20, 1941, Piapot Cree First Nations Reserve in the Qu'Appelle Valley, Saskatchewan, Canada
Genres: Folk, rock, country, electronic
Occupation(s): Musician, singer, songwriter, composer, record producer, visual artist, educator, social activist, actress, humanitarian
Instruments: Vocals, guitar, mouthbow, piano, ukulele, autoharp, harmonica, percussion
Album release: May 12, 2015
Record Label: True North Records
01 It's My Way 3:56
02 Power in the Blood 4:03
03 We Are Circling 3:05
04 Not the Lovin Kind 4:12
05 Love Charms (Mojo Bijoux) 4:07
06 Ke Sakihitin Awasis (I Love You, Baby) 4:09
07 Farm in the Middle of Nowhere 2:43
08 Generation 3:55
09 Sing Our Own Song 4:52
10 Orion 3:00
11 The Uranium War 3:34
12 Carry It On 3:01
℗ 2015 Gypsy Boy Music under exclusive license to High Romance Music Inc. Marketed by True North Records. All Rights Reserved.
≈ The iconic songwriter has written standards, social–justice anthems and Oscar–winning ballads, but never because it was what the industry expected from her. One of the most original and important voices of our time.
≈ Equal parts activist, educator, songwriter, performer and visual artist, Buffy Sainte–Marie has throughout her life been an untiring champion for indigenous people and the environment, through her music, art, education projects, and by taking direct political action. She is one of the most enduring and popular Native American performers, her music having touched millions of people around the world.
≈ From her start in New York City s Greenwich Village in the early to 1960s alongside Leonard Cohen, Neil Young and Joni Mitchell, Buffy made a name for herself as a gifted songwriter, writing hits for Janis Joplin, Elvis Presley, Barbra Streisand, and Neil Diamond. Her most well know song is the Oscar winning Up Where We Belong from An Officer and Gentlemen. But Buffy is most acclaimed for her song Universal Soldier that became one of the first anti–Vietnam war anthems to inspire a generation to protest.
≈ Power in the Blood her first new album in 6 years, includes odes to the sanctity of life, the splendor of Mother Nature, and scything political and social commentary on songs like the title track, a collaboration with British electronic group Alabama 3, as well as the tracks Uranium War and Generation. The album was recorded in Toronto with three different producers, Michael Philip Wojewoda (Barenaked Ladies, Jeff Healey), Chris Birkett (Sinéad O Connor, Bob Geldof) and Jon Levine (Melissa Etheridge, Serena Ryder).
≈ She is also one of the most successful and versatile songwriters of the last half century! THE GUARDIAN (BRITAIN) — The Globe and Mail
≈ For more than four decades, legendary Canadian–American Cree singer/songwriter Buffy Sainte–Marie has been blazing trails. — Winnipeg Free Press
© Photo of musician Buffy Sainte–Marie from her guest appearance on the television program Then Came Bronson. Buffy Sainte–Marie, 1970
Jesse Green (Guitar)
≈ Jesse Green grew up in Vancouver, San Francisco and Winnipeg listening to Jimi Hendrix, Jeff Beck, Albert Collins, Chuck Berry and Muddy Waters. Influenced by the variety of blues, country and rock genres around him, The Lakota/Ojibwe guitarist began song writing at fourteen and at the age of seventeen was on the professional music circuit recording, writing, producing and touring. Grinding it out for 20 years in X–Status, Killah Green, PeaceMaker and Gathering of Flies, Jesse’s most recent projects are with Bruthers of Different Muthers and Buffy Sainte–Marie.
Michel Bruyere (Drums)
≈ Known for his heavy–handed beats, Michel Bruyere uses his experience in rock, funk rock, country and blues to create his distinct sound. Based in Vancouver, the informally trained Ojibwe drummer kicked–off his music career in the early 90’s as a session player and performer. Michel has played with major acts such as Eagle & Hawk, C–Weed Band, and Keith Secola in the USA. Passionate about bringing spirituality into everything he does, Michel is currently touring with Bruthers of Different Muthers and Buffy Sainte–Marie.
Leroy Constant (Bass)
≈ Although he considers himself a world traveller, Winnipeg’s Leroy Constant always maintains a deep–footing in his roots. As a York Factory First Nation, the Cree bassist wears a chief’s head ring on his pinkie finger as a tribute to his ancestors and enjoys hunting in his spare time. Leroy plays many different styles of music, including alternative rock, and is now on tour with Bruthers of Different Muthers and Buffy Sainte–Marie.
Awards and honors:
≈ In 1997, Sainte-Marie won a Gemini Award for her 1996 variety special, Up Where We Belong.
≈ In 1983–4, the song "Up Where We Belong" (music by Jack Nitzsche and Buffy Sainte–Marie; lyrics by Will Jennings) from An Officer and a Gentleman won an Academy Award, a Golden Globe Award, and a BAFTA Film Award for Best Original Song.
≈ In 2009 she received the Juno Award for the album Running for the Drum.
≈ In 2010, she received the Governor General's Performing Arts Award.
Review by Thom Jurek; Score: ***½
≈ If Buffy Sainte–Marie has a trademark as an artist it's that she doesn't give a damn what anybody thinks. Since 1964, she has fought to make the records she wants and has seldom allowed the vision of her producers or record labels to sway her intentions. ≈ She doesn't fit the mold of a "folksinger" as a septuagenarian any better than she did 50 years ago. Power in the Blood, her first new recording since 2008, is another highly individual statement from Sainte–Marie the artist and activist. Recorded in Toronto with three different producers — Michael Wojewoda, Chris Birkett, and Jon Levine — the album offers new material, reworkings of a few older songs, and choice covers. Among the latter is the militant title track by Alabama 3 that incorporates samples from the original with some new words by Sainte–Marie delivered in her declamatory style, with Birkett's urgent bass, drum loops, and pulsing synths urging her on. Her reading of UB40's "Sing Our Own Song" is introduced by a Cree chant, popping snare, and funky B–3. Set opener "It's My Way," the title cut from her 1964 debut, has been thoroughly re–visioned here. It's still a folk song, but Sainte–Marie pushes hard at the boundaries of the term's definition. Strident acoustic guitars introduce the track, but when she begins singing, dropped basslines, explosive kick drums, tom–toms, cello, and treated electric guitars offer its timeless message anew. ≈ The bluesy, post–psych rock in "Not the Loving Kind" (which first appeared on 1972's Moon Shot) is juxtaposed against a punchy R&B horn chart. Of the new songs, the hypnotic trip–hop groove in "Love Charms (Mojo Bijoux)," with its shuffle, shimmer, and slip, is fit for the club floor. A set standout, it is as steamy as it is romantic. The waltz "Ke Sakihitin Awasis (I Love You, Baby)" is simpler, more atmospheric. Although it's a sensual love song, it is for the globe's indigenous people. ≈ "The Uranium War" is a prequel to her celebrated "Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee." What begins as a meandering parlor song with a journalistic accounting of circumstances surrounding the murder of activist Ana Marie Aquash, its strident backing chorus transforms it into a chant for justice. Closer "Carry It On" is the album's anthem. Punchy guitars, insistent keyboards, and rolling drums support Sainte–Marie's soaring lead and massive chorus vocals. They exhort listeners to celebrate life and the earth, even during periods of trial and darkness. Power in the Blood's stylistic adventure and restless aesthetic spirit are indeed Sainte–Marie's hallmarks. But on their own, musical and sonic diversity do not a fine album make. It takes good songs and inspired performances to balance the equation, and this album has them all. :: http://www.allmusic.com/
True North: https://truenorth.labelstore.ca/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/BuffySainteMarie © 836, Sainte–Marie performing in the Netherlands in the Grand Gala du Disque Populaire 1968 // Nationaal Archief, Den Haag, Rijksfotoarchief: Fotocollectie Algemeen Nederlands Fotopersbureau (ANEFO), 1945–1989 — negatiefstroken zwart/wit, nummer toegang 2.24.01.05, bestanddeelnummer 921–1411 — Nationaal Archief
≈ Buffy Sainte–Marie’s bold new album, Power in the Blood, begins where it all started more than 50 years ago, with a contemporary version of “It’s My Way,” the title track of her 1964 debut. Its message, about the road to self–identity and the conviction to be oneself, still resonates with the Cree singer–songwriter, activist, educator, visual artist, and winner of countless awards (Oscar, Juno, and Golden Globe, among them).
≈ Perhaps you know Sainte–Marie from her 1960s protest anthems (“Universal Soldier”), open–hearted love songs (“Until It’s Time for You to Go”), incendiary powwow rock (“Starwalker”), or the juggernaut pop hit “Up Where We Belong,” which Sainte–Marie co–wrote and Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes sang for the soundtrack to An Officer and a Gentleman.
≈ One of her earliest classics, “Cod’ine,” a harrowing account of addiction well ahead of its time, was covered by everyone from Janis Joplin to Donovan to Courtney Love. Or maybe you remember Sainte–Marie from her five years on the television show “Sesame Street” beginning in the mid–’70s.
≈ Whatever the case, every song and every era has revealed new and distinctive shades of an artist revered for her pioneering and chameleon ways. There was no mold from which Buffy Sainte–Marie emerged; she created her own, ripened from experiences in both her head and her heart.
≈ Power in the Blood is a follow–up to 2008’s acclaimed Running for the Drum and only her fourth studio release in more than 20 years. Although just because you don’t hear from her for long stretches doesn’t mean she’s not playing. Quite the opposite. Sainte–Marie’s creativity is always in motion, and her passport’s always in hand, touring for lectures and performances around the world with her high–octane backing band. She records only when she feels like touring, and currently Sainte–Marie is taking center stage around the world, including North America, Europe and Australia.
≈ Her latest record is an honest reflection of Sainte–Marie. The hallmarks of her catalog — the eclecticism and compassion she brings to each album, oblivious to genre boundaries and production trends — are in glorious bloom here. It’s the Buffy you know and love, and it’s geared for contemporary audiences.
≈ Throbbing to a techno beat, the title track was originally written and performed by the British band Alabama 3, of whom she is a fan. It’s safe to say Sainte–Marie makes it her own. She wrote new lyrics, turning the song inside out and reconfiguring it as a potent antiwar statement: “When that call it comes/ I will say, no no no to war.”
≈ “Sometimes people tell me, ‘Oh, you’re such a warrior for peace,’” Sainte–Marie says. “But I’m not a warrior at all. What I represent is new thinking about alternative conflict resolution. That’s quite different from the war racket and quite possibly a real step to a safe future.”
≈ Power in the Blood also includes odes to the sanctity of life (“We Are Circling”) and the splendor of Mother Nature (“Carry It On,” a song so euphoric and empowering that it should be taught in schools and performed at the Olympics). Hungry for songs of substance, Sainte–Marie also found inspiration in UB40’s “Sing Our Own Song,” which had been closely associated with Nelson Mandela and the anti–apartheid movement in South Africa, and put her own powwow spin on it.
≈ “Farm in the Middle of Nowhere” is her sweet confession of what her life is like these days, with a country spirit she describes as “rockabilly Hawaiian.” “Ke Sakihitin Awasis” is another love song, this one specifically for the Native culture Sainte–Marie has unflinchingly spotlighted as a humanitarian and world–renowned musician.
≈ She revisits three of her earlier songs — “It’s My Way,” “Not the Lovin’ Kind,” and “Generation,” the latter two written during “the blacklist years” when she could get no airplay — recalling Glen Spreen and Norbert Putnam’s original ’70s arrangements, and giving fans an opportunity to appreciate them anew.
≈ “To me, a good song stays relevant even though other good ones come along,” she says. “I feel like all my songs are coming from the 3–year–old I’ll always be, and the ones I keep loving are fresh to me every time I perform them.”
≈ Recording in Toronto, Sainte–Marie enlisted three different producers, a first for her, to help shape Power in the Blood: Michael Wojewoda (Barenaked Ladies, Jeff Healey), Chris Birkett (Sinéad O’Connor, Bob Geldof) and Jon Levine (Melissa Etheridge, Serena Ryder). Birkett has now worked with Sainte–Marie on four albums, beginning with 1992’s Coincidence and Likely Stories. He recognized from the start that Sainte–Marie was a singular force.
≈ “She pays a lot of attention to her lyrics,” Birkett says, “and when Buffy says something, she actually means something.”
≈ Often pegged as a folk singer — particularly by past record labels that either failed or were unwilling to see how far ahead of the curve she was — Sainte–Marie never fully fit in with her ’60s contemporaries. While her peers were singing the centuries–old folk ballads she may have adored, her songs sprang from her own imagination and were effortlessly unique.
≈ In truth, and this is often overlooked, Sainte–Marie is like an investigative journalist who prods and provokes to tell another side of a story. She tells the part of the narrative that has been conveniently left out of history books. Her songs have been a light in the dark, uncovering everything from corporate greed (“No No Keshagesh”) to violations of human rights (“My Country ’Tis of Thy People You’re Dying”) to governmental abuse of the very people it’s supposed to protect (“Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee” and it’s companion from this latest album, “The Uranium War”).
≈ That unwavering resilience has rippled across genres and generations, even as Sainte–Marie’s profile in the United States diminished significantly when she was blacklisted in the ’70s. Recognizing the power of her songwriting and activism, the Lyndon Johnson and Richard Nixon administrations considered her an “artist to be suppressed,” and Sainte–Marie all but disappeared from the US music industry.
Power in the Blood is a reminder that, five decades on, it is still futile to silence artists or to put Sainte–Marie in any single category. She simply doesn’t fit. Yes, she can inspire you to rise up and take action, but she can just as easily melt your heart with a tender ballad. Go back to “Until It’s Time for You to Go” and you’ll be hard–pressed to say when it was written or for whom. It’s evergreen and, like so much of Sainte–Marie’s work, it’s universal.
≈ “I love words, I love thinking, and I recognize and value the core of a universal idea simplified into a three–minute song,” she says. “What appealed to me in folk music were the songs that have lasted for generations, but I wasn’t trying to be one of those guys. I wanted to give people something original.”
|Power in the Blood|