Leela Gilday releases CD at Harrison concert

Juno-Award winning artist from Yellowknife worked with Tanya Tagaq

Leela Gilday will be in Harrison Hot Springs this Saturday

Juno Award winning singer/songwriter Leela Gilday will be flying in from Yellowknife this weekend, for a special CD release party in Harrison Hot Springs.

Gilday is from the Dene Nation in Yellowknife, NT, and is the only Juno winning artist from the Territories. She said she’s thrilled to be sharing this CD, her fourth, with Harrison audiences on Oct. 4.

“The CD (Heart of the People) has many amazing tracks on it, celebrating our connection to the earth, honouring the missing and murdered aboriginal women in this country, celebrating themes of life and love in the north,” she said. “It is my best yet, and I am proud to say that it features guest tracks from Dene drummers from the NWT, as well as a guest track from my good friend Tanya (Tagaq) Gillis, who recently won the Polaris prize.”

Fans of the Harrison Festival of the Arts may remember Gilday. She’s performed at the festival twice over the years. But this will be her first concert in the hall, and the first time she’s performed from her new CD in B.C. The CD won’t even be released until Oct. 14, she added.

“We are very very excited to come to Harrison to play a full evening of songs from the CD at the special Memorial Hall venue,” she said, and her band is travelling from across Canada to meet up in Harrison.

Gilday is a passionate, soulful performer who takes listeners on a journey through a musical world where freedom and joy balance sorrow and injustice. Her lyrics, reflective of her northern roots in Yellowknife, NWT, embrace the essence of Dene life from an urban perspective.

Gilday strives to connect with her audiences and with each record brings more unique stories to the world. Whether it’s an anthem for the oppressed, or an upbeat song about mortality, she infuses her songs with a sense of humour as well as a sense of social justice, and an ironic appreciation of human folly.

Her four-piece band featuring Jason Burnstick (guitar) Paul Yee (bass) and Elliott Polsky (drums), has toured festivals and concert halls through every province and territory in Canada.  In 2011 she performed on the Beach Stage for the 33rd Annual Harrison Festival of the Arts both with her band and as part of the New Directions: An Aboriginal Collaboration. She has also played internationally in several countries including Japan, US, Greenland, Denmark, and New Zealand.

Her live shows, and many appearances on television and radio have earned her an important place in the Aboriginal music scene, as well as a loyal mainstream following. “We have long recognized her as a talented member of our nation,” says Dene National Chief, Bill Erasmus.

Gilday has many national awards including a Juno and Western Canadian Music Award for her second album Sedzé. She was named Aboriginal Female Entertainer of the Year (2011) by the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards, and was the Musical Director for the National Aboriginal Achievement Awards Finale (2012, CTV).

Gilday’s performance in Harrison is part of the CD release tour for her much anticipated fourth album, Heart of the People. Tracks from the album will be performed live in Harrison with her full band and copies of the new CD will be available for purchase.

Tickets are available online at www.harrisonfestival.com and by phone at 604-796-3664.