A Brief Canadian History is a multimedia music performance designed to celebrate and promote a deeper awareness of Indigenous and Canadian art, culture and history. This performance brings a fresh focus to the historical importance of the people and events that have shaped our Indigenous and Canadian histories. This performance spotlights uniquely Indigenous and Canadian events and individuals such as,
- The Iroquois
- Kateri Tekakwitha
- The decimation of the buffalo
- The Taking of the West
- The Blackfoot
- Louis Riel
- The Underground Railway
- The deported Acadians
- The Irish Famine
- The Scottish Highland Clearances (and the subsequent exodus to Canada)
- The Gold Rush
- The Chinese and the building of the Trans Canadian Railway
- The Great Depression
- WWI John McCrea a poem In Flanders Fields
- WWII Elsie McGill & women during wartime
- War Brides
- The Bluenose
- Rocket Richard
- Terry Fox
- The Oka Crisis
- Bill 101 and many more individuals and events of our little known history
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The narrative songs, while dealing sensitively with these subjects, illustrate integral aspects of our past, and demonstrate the need to recognize these issues to shape our future.
This uniquely Indigenous-Canadian performance lends itself fully to the school, festival, cultural centre and Embassy network, providing a forum for thought and classroom discussion in the faculties of Indigenous issues, history, music, art, geography, literature, political science and the promotion of Canadian culture. The performance takes the audience on a geographical and cultural sweep across Canada, touching on events that have boldly or subtly helped to distinguish our nation.
The music is the central theme of this performance and it is highlighted through digital projections, both of these elements are used to engage our audiences in the tradition of storytelling. The songs are narratives designed to relate the stories of people, events and places, then to promote discussions during a question period after the performance. This question period is an opportunity for the students and the public to ask about the project. We have provided some suggested topics for discussion in the various faculties that A Brief Canadian History touches. Please consult our online education feature. Liner notes and the lyrics may be downloaded from our website as a teaching tool to explore the themes further in the class room.
G. Scott MacLeod
Owner and Founder of A Brief Canadian History, Artistic Director, Singer/Songwriter, Musician
G.S. MacLeod's training is in both music, visual arts and film. He has a bachelors of Fine Arts and a Master’s in art education from Concordia University. He has studied the accordion, guitar and Bodrhan, has had over 200 exhibitions and performances to his name and is a well-known Montreal interdisciplinary artist who works as a painter, photographer, filmmaker and musician. His work has addressed social-political issues and historical themes. He has travelled, studied, performed and exhibited across Canada, the United States, Mexico, Europe and Scandinavia. He has been involved in the Canadian music scene since 1985 as a songwriter and performer in folk, Celtic and rock bands most notably as a member of This New Land, Trinity, Craic and MacLeod 9. G.S. MacLeod has performed A Brief Canadian History show in Berlin, the Side-sounds Music Festival in Oslo and Bergen, The Harbourfront Theatre in Toronto, Concordia and McGill Universities in Montreal for University of the Streets Cafe, The Hudson Village Theatre, Porchfest NDG, Heritage Hall in Vancouver with members of the Squamish Nation, and at many primary and secondary schools in the Montreal area. Also benefits concerts for Amnesty International Art for love and Freedom, the Lubicon Cree Nation in Northern Alberta, the Mohawks of Khanesetake, food banks, AIDS hospices, orphanages, and hospitals.
Christina Sciascia is a Montréal born and trained musician. She studied classical piano from childhood into her adolescence, but then became more focused on singing and guitar accompaniment as a young adult. She played in the bars and pubs of Montreal for many years, sometimes solo, and often in a duo named the Sha Sha Kats. In 2004 she completed a double major Bachelors degree at Concordia University (a BA in Sociology and a BFA of Music) and a Masters in Music Therapy. Christina has worked extensively in educational settings, creating and giving music classes to preschoolers and elementary school children.
Jonathan Owen Moorman
Musician, Musical Arranger
Jonathan moved to Canada at the age of 11 from Essex, England. After graduating from McGill with a degree in English Literature, Jonathan began performing in Irish pubs across Montreal. Since then he has recorded with artists including John McDermott, ''Beat'', Brendan Nolan, Tuna, Solstice and Scott MacLeod. He has toured extensively with John McDermott, The Mahones and Solstice. He was the musical director of a traditional Quebecois step-dancing troupe, ''Reel et Macadam'', with whom he produced an album and toured Holland, Belgium, Romania and Quebec. Jonathan has also played Folk Festivals throughout Canada and the U.S. including ones in Yellowknife, Drummondville, Victoria, Boston and the Montreal Celtic Festival. His current project is the Jonathan Moorman Band and Mariners Curse, which performs a variety of world and traditional music. Jonathan plays the violin, Irish bouzouki, and whistle.
Mike Burns, captivating, humourous, a rare presence in an age of noisy sound bites, short attention spans and mass media. He is a storyteller who learned the rare art of the Seanachie (pronounced sha na ki). Coming from a family of storytellers from Co. Kerry, Ireland he has given the world four decades of stories. Mike has performed his Irish stories for audiences in North America and Europe in festivals, community centres and pubs. Notably The Toronto Story Telling Festival, Festival d’arts créatifs du Labrador and Festival du conte du Québec. Sometimes accompanied with the late Toby Kinsella, musician and founder of the Celtic Group Bard with who he recorded the piece The King of Birds. Mike’s work is in Ghostwise, an anthology of Canadian Storytellers, published by Dan Yashinsky in Toronto in 2002 and most recently he has work in Les jours sont conte Portrait de conteurs published by Planète rebelle/Littorale. His www.thewateroflife.ca series was directed and animated by G. Scott MacLeod into four films in collaboration with the National Film Board of Canada. Mike’s story telling is a rare and unique experience, a must see for those who have not experienced this art form.
In Memory of Bevan Skerratt (1945 - 2017)
Musician, Indigenous Cultural Worker
Our dear friend and colaborator Bevan Skerratt passed away peacefully on Sunday October 8, 2017 after a battle with cancer. Bevan was born and raised in Saskatchewan and is of Cree and Celtic ancestry. He came to appreciate the growth-potential that the diversity of human experience offered. With 27 years in holistic personal growth work, Bevan pursued both academic and experiential learning traditions. He had a Bachelors of Arts in Applied Social Sciences from Concordia University and a Masters of Education in Educational Psychology from McGill University. In the course of his career Bevan trained and intervention work in many Aboriginal communities and worked very closely with Native and Inut men in the Canadian Correctional System, also with female victims of violence and sexual abuse. Beavan was asked to participate in A Brief Canadian History as an indigenous cultural worker to promote the education of indigenous culture. We opened our perrformances with the burning of sage and a song to give thanks to the creator and to acknowledge indigenous land, people and their culture. His aim was to bring awareness the indigenous peoples in Canada and beyond.
Shows and Performance Options
Festivals and Schools
Option A - An unplugged and intimate Canada
45 minutes, 15 minute question period
Setting - Festival workshop or classroom : Two musicians in a classroom setting. In this option the goal is to elborate on the content of the music, historical figures and themes in an intimate setting and promote discourse between the performer, audience and or students. Storyboards are handed to the audience and or students in a effort to highlight elements of each song. Instruments include : Guitar, bodhran (Irish drum), Cajon, harmonica, shakers and rain stick. This show deals with an overview of Indigenous and Canadian history
Rate $600.00 + transport
Option B – A Brief Canadian History
45 minute multimedia music perfromance, 15 minute question period and give away
Setting - Music festival or school auditorium: Two musicians and one technician to operate digital projector, followed by an optional question period and CD giveaway. Instruments include: Guitar, bodhran (Irish drum), Cajon, harmonica, shakers and rain stick. This show deals with an overview of Indigenous and Canadian history.
Rate $750.00 + transport
Cultural Centres – Embassies – Festivals – Special Events
Option C – A Brief Canadian History II
45 minute multimedia music performance
Setting – Cultural centres, embassies, music festivals and special events: Three musicians and one technician to operate digital projector, followed by an optional question period and CD giveaway. Instruments include: Guitar, violin, bouzouki, harmonica, bodhran (Irish drum), Cajon, harmonica, shakers and rain stick. This show deals with an overview of Indigenous and Canadian history.
Rate $1000.00 + transport
Note: This would require an additional honorarium $100.00
* Performances can be performed with a Indigenous cultural worker or storyteller. I have given these artists complete freedom of artistic expression within the theme of the shows to bring part of their cultural tradition to the performance. I feel the artistic trust that this gesture implies also increases the potential for a unique and personal start to every performance and introduces the audience to part of the community they may have little understanding about.
* A Brief Canadian History does not cover travel costs.