Digging Roots, the powerhouse bluesy rock 'n' roll music duo that calls Barrie home, dropped by downtown's Five Points Theatre on Sunday night, fresh off their recent Juno Award win for contemporary Indigenous Artist/Group of the Year.
They were well-received by both their fans and their family members who were in attendance.
The husband-and-wife duo of Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish brought with them their fierce energy, raised it high and sustained it throughout the set with help from their capable band that backed them up.
Kanatakta’s roaring guitar virtuosity would have stood out on its own if it were not for Kish’s equally powerful vocals and emotion. Their talents play off each other perfectly.
Their catalogue of music was well-represented, but the obvious standouts were The Healer, Ak47, SKODEN and Hwy 17.
The emotional peak of the night was their performance of Cut My Hair, with its dedication to the many thousands of Indigenous children who are buried in unmarked graves on the grounds of residential schools across the country, and with more of them continuing to be found.
And 'cut his hair' is what Kanatakta has done. His usually long locks, which represents a strong cultural identity, are gone, cut off to express respect and mourning for the loss of loved ones, of which these countless children are to his community. It is now replaced with his emotional determination to keep the story of these stolen children on the front-burner in people’s minds as much as possible.
Opening the show for them was R&B singer/songwriter Sebastian Gaskin from Winnipeg, who grew up in Tataskweyak Cree Nation in Manitoba.
Gaskin's golden voice and songwriting earned him the 2021 Western Canadian Music Award for R&B Artist of the Year, which was no surprise to our ears, as he ran through his songs to the delight of the crowd.
A surprise highlight of the night was Brett Caswell’s Northern Pipes Community Choir that joined Digging Roots for a few songs, backing up Kish’s singing, which was a treat, not only for the audience but for the choir members themselves.
Kevin Lamb is a local photojournalist whose work often appears in BarrieToday.