Digging Roots fuse love, diversity and dancing into one exceptional evening

Digging Roots fuse love, diversity and dancing into one exceptional evening

Rotary Centre for the Arts welcomes JUNO Award-winning band Oct. 7

The world is calling on Digging Roots and the JUNO Award-winning band is answering.

After touring through North America, Europe and beyond, the five-piece roots-fusion band takes Kelowna’s Rotary Centre for the Arts stage at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 7

The husband-and-wife creative team of Raven Kanatakta and ShoShona Kish are at the core of Digging Roots, balancing masculinity with femininity and Indigenous tradition with modern aesthetics, engaging wider audiences to promote their Anishinabek music and cultural ideals.

After four trips west earlier this year, the Toronto-based band is happy to return to the Okanagan.

The Hunter & The Healer

Building on the success of their most recent JUNO-nominated album For The Light, for the last year Digging Roots has been in studios from Australia to Canada producing their latest album, The Hunter & The Healer.

In anticipation of its spring release, the band has released a new single and video, AK-47, exploring the concept of love as a weapon in reclaiming our humanity.

“We were playing around with the concept of if we could load love into a gun, peace into a gun, hope into a gun,” reflects Kanatakta, who as a child experienced the 1990 Kanesatake/Oka crisis in Quebec with his family – which included having guns pointed at their heads.

“I’d always wanted to write a song that was empowering from that experience,” Kanatakta says.

While they were writing, the Orlando nightclub shooting targeting the LGBTQ community also happened, reinforcing the idea. “It just meant that much more to us in a present context as well.”

During the coming concert, audiences can expect to enjoy a diversity of music, along with some conversation by the band and likely a little dancing.

“We’ll be playing music that is traditional, but in a modern context as well,” Kanatakta says, noting that in addition to songs reflecting their indigenous roots, music is infused with elements of reggae, blues and other influences.

“We talk to people too,” he says, pointing to the song Cut My Hair, exploring the practice of cutting aboriginal children’s hair as soon as they were taken to residential schools. Offering context for the songs helps build that bridge between exploring meaningful issues and having a good time with the music.

Because in addition to sharing their history and tradition, a good time is also ensured.

“Just the fact that people will get up and dance at the end of the show is really great,” Kanatakta says.

Tickets for Digging Roots are $25 for adults, $20 members/groups and $15 for students.

Did you know?

In 2015, Digging Roots received the first Cobalt Prize for Contemporary Blues Composition at the Maple Blues Awards for their song Hwy 17.