Gil’s Hootenanny Presents A Tribute to Willie Dunn

Gil’s Hootenanny is proud to present a tribute to Mi’kmaq singer-songwriter Willie Dunn as part of its 2022 event. Long an icon of Canada’s folk music scene, Dunn (1941-2013) was a multi-talented artist, activist and visionary. Dunn gave voice to Charlie Wenjack’s story in a hauntingly beautiful song written 50 years before Gord Downey’s “Secret Path”. His song, “I Pity the Country”, about colonialism and anti-Indigenous racism, has become an Indigenous anthem, while “Son of the Sun” celebrates Dunn’s heritage interwoven with a plaintive cry for peace. Dunn was the first Indigenous filmmaker to direct an NFB film, “The Ballad of Crowfoot”, one of Canada’s first music videos.

In 2021, Light in the Attic records released a 22-song double album of Dunn’s music entitled Creation Never Sleeps, Creation Never Dies: The Willie Dunn Anthology, earning a 2022 Grammy nomination for Best Album Notes and bringing Dunn’s music to a new audience.

Willie Dunn’s friend, musician David Finkle, will be delivering the tribute. Hailing from Tyendinaga Mohawk Territory in southern Ontario, Finkle is an award-winning multi-instrumental recording artist versed in many musical genres. He is a sound engineer, traditional knowledge keeper, storyteller, drum maker and producer, and has completed scores for many theatrical productions, documentaries, and full-length features. Finkle’s music ranges from traditional melodies unchanged for thousands of years to complete live improvisation often playing traditionally handmade instruments he makes himself.

Gil’s Hootenanny is delighted and honoured to be celebrating the work of this trail-breaking artist and shining a spotlight on Dunn’s legacy.

This year’s Hootenanny will be held on Sunday, May 1st at 2pm in Clark Hall at the RA Centre, 2451 Riverside Drive. Staffed by UNIFOR members, the RA Centre is accessible, has loads of parking and is well serviced by OC Transpo.

Tickets ($10, kids free) are now available online and can be purchased (cash only) at Octopus Books, 116 Third Avenue. For additional information and tickets, visit & Facebook.

Vaccinations and masking are encouraged at this year’s Gil’s Hootenanny and Clark Hall will be occupied to less than capacity.

Willie Dunn