Duane J. Hanson

Haig-Brown Festival features local First Nations musicians

The Haig-Brown Festival has been attracting some excellent local talent in the last few years, and this year is no exception

The Haig-Brown Festival has been attracting some excellent local talent in the last few years, and this year is no exception.

Duane J. Hanson, a member of Campbell River’s First Nations Homalco band, will be appearing again this year with the Bentwood Boyz, a group of musicians also composed of local Aboriginal artists.

Like last year, they plan to play a mix of blues and country tunes and Hanson is in favour of playing acoustically.  For this appearance, he will play the bass guitar, but he usually plays drums.

“I’ve been playing since I was six years old,” Hanson said. “I grew up in a musical family and learned from my dad and my uncle. I was already performing in public by the time I was 10.”

Hanson was drawn to the festival while working with MISA in Campbell River last year on a project involving Aboriginal youth and art. He got to know Ken Blackburn at the Campbell River Arts Council and when Blackburn (who also coordinates the Haig-Brown Festival) found out that Hanson was a musician, he asked him if he would be interested in providing the festival’s musical entertainment.

“I went to the property to get a feel for the location,” Hanson said.  “I liked the fact that it was right by the river.  Historically, everything in Campbell River started with the river.  I think the Haig-Brown Festival is a really good festival because it tries to create an awareness about our impact on the environment.”

“I don’t think there is a First Nations group that would disagree about the importance of preserving the environment, and right now, there is a concern that commercial interests are going to overwhelm the small communities that are being offered dollars in exchange for compromising their surroundings.”

Hanson has a degree in social and economic studies and works for the John Howard Society as First Nations Relations Advisor. His recent experience with the Society has given him the opportunity to look from the outside, in. He has also been an elected chief, and he is well acquainted with the frustration experienced on both sides.

“I have an ‘over the hedge’ philosophy,” he says. “I think Aboriginal peoples are in a position to take the best from both worlds and to empower each other.”

This philosophy has worked well for Hanson musically, and he is ready to move forward with recording original songs. He has been very busy this summer playing in the Vancouver area mostly for weddings and family reunions. There, he says, the demand is usually for rock music. As a writer of songs however, he leans more towards blues/rock.

He would like to see other First Nations musicians on the West Coast break away from what is classified as Aboriginal music and create something new, and he wants to help the Bentwood Boyz take the next steps towards doing that and creating a following.

This summer audiences enjoyed their music at Spirit Square, and they are booked to play at the Quinsam Hotel in November. This Sunday you can have the pleasure of hearing them play live on the grounds of the Haig-Brown house. The festival is free and runs from noon to 4 p.m.

While you are there, don’t forget to look for this year’s commemorative fly, Haig-Brown’s ‘Coho Blue’.  A boxed ‘Coho Blue’ has been donated by Tony Pinder and will be available for auction at the Festival. For further information, call the Museum at 250-287-3103.

Just Posted

Council makes decision on tackling Pier Street parking issues

West side of Pier Street will go down to one-hour parking, enforcement likely to increase

B.C. freestyle skier wins gold

Cassie Sharpe of Comox shines in the halfpipe

Campbell Riverites get the chance to learn more about Clean Energy Vehicles

Representatives from CEVsforBC were at Saturday’s Giant Indoor Garage Sale at the… Continue reading

Campbell River’s Teal Harle finishes fifth in Olympic Men’s Slopestyle skiing

‘I’ve definitely surpassed every expectation I had for the Games’ – Harle

Pick-up truck runs into ATV pulling two logs on a trailer in Merville

A pickup truck ran into a trailer with two logs on it… Continue reading

How to keep local news visible in your Facebook feed

Facebook has changed the news feed to emphasize personal connections. You might see less news.

Parts of B.C. see record-breaking temperatures in cold snap

Sechelt, Yoho National Park were the chilliest ever Monday

Claim dimissed against RCMP over 2008 B.C. woman’s murder

Mother of Lisa Dudley, shot in her home along with her partner, had alleged negligence

B.C. cold snap prompts energy use spike

BC Hydro is reporting a 10 per cent increase in the energy demand in the last two days

Vancouver Island job market ever-evolving

Various sectors driving employment in region will be represented at Black Press career fair in Comox Feb. 8

COLUMN: Benning stands firm on Gudbranson, will keep him with Canucks until 2021

Canucks opt to not trade the 26-year-old defenseman, but sign him to multi-year deal

Students head to Florida capital to press for gun law change

Young protestors are joining a grassroots movement against gun violence in the wake of last week’s school shooting in Parkland, Florida

Liberals look at use-it-or-lose-it parental leave for dads

Liberals looking at creating a use-it-or-lose-it leave for fathers, Trudeau says

Most Read