Artists as Activists

Singer/pianist Elizabeth Shepherd and I have been working together for the last seven years in a variety of ways.  She's part of my Shine On: The Universe of John Lennon group, and I have been on several tours with her in support of her fantastic last record The Signal.  Last year we began doing some duo shows of all Bruce Cockburn songs, some joined by Bruce's manager and Canadian music business pioneer Bernie Finkelstein, who added his stories from his autobiography to the performances.  Revisiting the Cockburn songbook has been great fun for me, as I did a lot of Bruce's music instrumentally when I was supporting my album Creation Dream:  The Songs of Bruce Cockburn (released 2000).

Elizabeth, John Lennon, and Bruce Cockburn are artists I admire musically but also because of their commitment to social justice, and they are brave enough to express what they feel in their lyrics.  On her album The Signal, there's a song called What's Happening? that Elizabeth wrote in response to certain Quebec politicians trying to make an issue out of veiled Muslim women, even though Muslims represent a tiny minority in Quebec, and women who wear the veil are a small minority within that minority.  It was a way for some politicians to crassly promote themselves as nationalists at the expense of a minority and luckily those people did not form the government. However, given the tragic shooting at a mosque in Quebec City last week, where 6 men were killed by someone who is said to hold racist, nationalist views (and a Trump admirer to boot), the song seems especially pertinent.  We'll be playing that song and others in Hamilton for a concert with the theme Artists as Activists.
Hope you'll join us if you can, and keep your eye on the Upcoming Shows page as there are other dates with Elizabeth too.