FEBRUARY 24, 2017
Tickets: Gold Circle $35; Reserved Seated $30; General Admission $20
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.
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”).
“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.”