A performance by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson

November 6, 2016 at 6:00pm

Join us for a performance by Leanne Simpson and her band, as she debuts her new album, f(l)ight

f(l)ight is a new album of story-songs from acclaimed Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg artist Leanne Betasamosake Simpson. Effortlessly interweaving Simpson’s complex poetics and multi-layered stories of the land, spirit, and body with lush acoustic and electronic arrangements, f(l)ight claims a unique space in contemporary Indigenous music and performance.

The album is a haunting, powerful hybrid of words, songs, and perspectives. From the gentle invocation of other forms of life offered in songs like “Road Salt” and “The Oldest Tree in the World”, to the dissonant sonics of “Caribou Ghosts and Untold Stories” and the pulsing, hypnotic rhythms of “Under Your Always Light”, Simpson’s words reverberate within and between the sounds that surround them.

John K. Samson of The Weakerthans calls f(l)ight “wondrous, unflinching”—an album of “thoughtfully built and beautiful songs that will challenge, comfort, inspire and abide”.

Each track traces echoes of Indigenous appearance and disappearance, confrontation and forgiveness, radical anticolonial fury entwined with deeply-felt love. f(l)ight is the sound of ancestral memory and present possibility unfolding toward a horizon of freedom—a transformative and expansive record of indigeneity being claimed and reclaimed against more than five hundred years of attempted extermination.

For Simpson, the making of f(l)ight was both a deeply personal and highly collaborative process of collective creation. She enlisted the talents of award-winning Indigenous and non-Indigenous musicians including Jonas Bonnetta (Evening Hymns), James Bunton (Ohbijou, Light Fires, Forest City Lovers), Juno-nominated Cree/Metis cellist Cris Derksen, Nick Ferrio (The Burning Hell), Anishinaabe/Cree singer-songwriter Tara Williamson, and Anishinaabe singer-songwriter Ansley Simpson to write, co-create, record, and produce the album over an intensive two-week recording session, that included field recordings of Anishinaabe land-based practices like a sugar bush, wild rice, and the Crowe River. 

“For me this is a record of tiny stories of light, of fight, and of Indigenous freedom,” says Simpson. “I like to fall into the intimate moments of Indigenous life and amplify the richness, the warmth and the intelligence of our communities and the worlds we live in. I want my people to come out of this album feeling better than they went in.”

f(l)ight takes Simpson’s previous album, Islands of Decolonial Love, and both expands and deconstructs it. Where Islands focused on her characters’ desire to live loving and observant lives within a landscape of constant struggle, f(l)ight takes up this call by departing elsewhere. Here, space becomes the sound of song. This album finds Simpson in powerful command of her voice, relearning an inner language, releasing a strength, that has always been known.

Authors & Presenters