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Digging Roots


The husband and wife team of Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish are making music, travelling the world, and carving out a music career their way.

In addition to earning multiple awards, including a 2010 JUNO for Aboriginal Album of the Year, Digging Roots’ three albums have taken them to every corner of the world, from the United States and Mexico to Norway, Jamaica, New Zealand, Australia, and many points in between. It all comes out in their music, particularly their critically-acclaimed latest offering, For the Light, which perfectly encapsulates their blend of reggae, blues, folk and traditional native elements.

For Kanatakta, a life of music was always destined. He grew up with legendary Mi’kmaq singer-songwriter Willie Dunn as a close family friend. In fact, some of Kanatakta’s earliest gigs were supporting Dunn. “I grew

up around songs like ‘Ballad of Crowfoot’ and ‘I Pity the Country’ and things where he is singing about what was going on in Canada at that time. So I think that my influences come from that. As well, it just enabled me to put things in another perspective when one generation does something and a second generation picks up from that,” Kanatakta says. “I really feel that at this point in time, there is a bit of a renaissance happening in the indigenous community in Canada and I feel that people are starting to get a little bit of a stride and the music is really great. So people can’t ignore it because the voice is too strong and I feel really positive about that and really excited to meet and collaborate with the new generation that is coming up, as well.”

Firmly inhabiting roots and blues, Digging Roots perform an eclectic tapestry of light and dark sound with sweet harmonies and melodic accompaniments of ukulele, banjo, mellotron and Kanatakta’s bombastic resonator guitar.

When Kanatakta, Kish, and their band take the stage inside Cairns

a r t s | h e r i t a g e |

Recital Hall, they will be feeding off the crowd and venue and using that energy to dictate the type of show it will be. “We always write the set list just before we go on because I can feel the energy from an audience build,” says Kanatakta. “It’s like, ‘Ok, we have this kind of a crowd tonight’ or we have a crowd that is just ready jump up and down and dance. I think that we start crafting up things together just before the show and it kind of keeps the band on their toes, too, because they don’t necessarily know what song they are going to play until you get up on stage. It keeps everything interesting and a little bit spicy.”

- Michael Raine

Digging Roots Cairns Recital Hall MEMBERS: $29.75 REGULAR: $35 COLLEGE/UNIVERSITY: $25 HIGH SCHOOL: $5

7:30PM Sat 16 Apr

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