One of the things that makes Canada special is the patchwork quilt of identity.
Voyageur, the Six String Nation guitar, is built from pieces that tell the story of Canada from historical figures to local heros to the land itself. Where else will you see a guitar built from wood from a doorway to Fan Tan Alley, the heart of Canada’s first Chinatown, wood from the world’s longest covered bridge that crosses the St. John River from Hartland to Somerville, NB, decking from the Bluenose II, Whale baleen from the North, the only wood ever taken from the legendary albino sitka spruce tree known as Kiidk’yaas, or “The Golden Spruce”, and a piece of Wayne Gretzky’s hockey stick?
“The Six String Nation Guitar is not only built from different narratives, but also creates a new story about Canada every time it’s picked up,” says Jen Tindall, artistic associate of the International Festival of Authors.
On Friday, the Kootenay Storytelling Festival presents their opening night concert: Jowi Taylor’s Six String Nation. Conceived in 1995, Six String Nation, took 11 years to bring to life. Since then, the performance has played to packed houses and critical acclaim across Canada. Centered around a single acoustic guitar — nicknamed Voyageur and built from over 60 pieces of Canadian history representing different cultures, communities and characters from every part of the country. The project combines Taylor’s fascinations with music, media, community engagement, and the dynamics of Canadian history and multicultural identity.
Taylor is a multiple award winning writer, broadcaster, consultant and cultural entrepreneur. Voyageur is arguably Canada’s most famous guitar — it has been played by hundreds of musicians in countless styles from many cultures including some of Canada’s top artists like Feist, K’naan, Serena Ryder and Stompin’ Tom Connors. It’s criss-crossed Canada totaling more than 300,000 km visiting places like Dawson City, St. John’s, Calgary, Iqaluit, Thunder Bay, Natuashish and communities large and small in every province and territory of Canada from coast to coast to coast. It has been the subject of a Newsworld documentary, a book from Douglas & McIntyre, a commemorative coin from the Royal Canadian Mint, an experimental radio feature on CBC and countless news stories and features in local, regional and national media right across the country.
Everywhere he performs, Taylor brings the local community into the project, making Six String Nation an icon of Canadian community identity. Nelson is no exception. This concert brings together a collection of Nelson’s finest musicians.
In Nelson, the concert will feature Paul Landsberg on Voyageur as well as Trio Voyage, Laura Landsberg, Allison Girvan, and Lalin. Landsberg’s Trio Voyage is an acoustic trio that explores music from many different corners of the globe. The trio plays traditional music from a diversity of cultures as well as their own, “world inspired” compositions. Improvisation is a large part of this trio as they freely interpret music from around the world, making each performance a unique experience for the listeners and performers. Last but far from least, concert goers will be treated to a performance from Girvan’s choir Lalin.
The show goes on Friday (September 20) at 7:30 p.m. Tickets are $20 for adults and $12 for students, available on at the Capitol Theatre.