Tales from Turtle Island

One of our oldest art forms, Storytelling is a vital way in which people connect, share, and pass wisdom from Elders to younger generations. From education, to spirituality, and to entertainment, storytelling remains an important part of the culture of many Indigenous communities in Turtle Island, the land that encompasses most of North America.

Playwright Yolanda Bonnell has written a collection of five new pieces, which will be performed by actor Rachel Cantin. The Spectrum composers have created musical interpretations of Yolanda’s works, to be performed by an ensemble featuring members of the Metis Fiddler Quartet and DJ/electronic artist Classic Roots.

Violinist Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk adds her compositional voice to the concert, as she performs an excerpt of her work “Memere Colibri”: a piece for solo violin, storytelling, and projections. Classic Roots (aka Joshua DePerry) will perform a solo piece for electronics and Pow Wow dance.


Violin- Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk
Violin- Nick Delbaere-Sawchuk
Cello- Danton Delbaere-Sawchuk
Alto saxophone- Olivia Shortt
Electronics- Joshua DePerry aka Classic Roots


Pow Wow by Yolanda Bonnell, music interpretation by Shannon Graham
Anishnaabe Kwe Pt 1 by Yolanda Bonnell, music interpretation by Chelsea McBride
Red Waters by Yolanda Bonnell, music interpretation by Lieke van der Voort
Anishnaabe Kwe Pt 2 by Yolanda Bonnell, music interpretation by Kristian Podlacha
Blood Cells by Yolanda Bonnell, music interpretation by Jay Vazquez
Memere Colibri by Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk


This collection is about  my culture being taken from me to my anger and reclamation of it, to an understanding that it was always there with me in my bloodline of women.  The ugliness of colonization but the beauty and celebration of being an Ojibwe woman.”- Yolanda Bonnell

Classic Roots, DJAbout Joshua DePerry aka Classic Roots

Classic Roots brings the sexy heartbeat of the boreal north to life with his unique brand of Electronica and pow wow techno. The Thunder Bay native is an award winning producer and DJ who is impacting the music community with his fresh sound and meaningful collaborations with diverse artists.

Drawing inspiration from his life and culture, Classic Roots established his original sound by integrating First Nations songs with Electronica music. He navigates the unique sound of techno/house music while dancing to the beat of traditional Anishinaabe sounds, establishing a sense of cultural freedom that echoes throughout the electronic music scene. With inspirations such as Gina Turner, Daft Punk and “Justice” French Producer, Classic Roots has been able to develop his sound, which he has perfected through the use of a drum machine and the music software Reason 9.

YolandaAbout Yolanda Bonnell

Yolanda Bonnell is an emerging performer and playwright of Ojibwe and South Asian descent, hailing from Fort William First Nation Indian Reserve in Thunder Bay, ON.  She is a graduate of Humber College’s theatre performance program and was also a part of Factory Theatre’s The Foundry, a creation program for new career writers, where her play, Scanner was being developed.  Her one woman physical theatre show bug, directed by Cole Alvis, premiered at Native Earth’s Weesageechak Begins to Dance 28 and at the 37th annual Rhubarb Festival in 2016 at Buddies in Bad Times Theatre and then went on to have a workshop residency at Summerworks 2016.  Yolanda will be a part of the Stratford Festival’s 2017 season appearing in The Breathing Hole and Treasure Island.

Alyssa 1About Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk

Born in Winnipeg and based in Toronto, Alyssa is completing a doctorate in classical and fiddle music traditions on the viola at the University of Montreal. Upon learning about her Red River metis roots, her and her younger brothers discovered the old Native and metis style of fiddling traditions of Canada with the guidance of Anne Lederman. Alyssa’s mentorship with Ojibwe elder fiddler Lawrence “Teddy Boy” Houle, lead her to collaborate with his brother James Flett in creating “Oméigwessi, Reel Métis: A Tribute to Walter Flett”, which won ‘Best Fiddle and Best Instrumental Album’ at the 2008 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards.


About Olivia Shortt

Olivia Shortt is an emerging, Toronto-based classical and contemporary saxophonist, administrator and teacher of Irish and Ojibwe descent from Nipissing First Nation. She performs regularly with Stereoscope Saxophone Duo, Dialectica Saxophone Quartet, and the Element Choir (under the direction of Christine Duncan) and has been involved in performances with Polaris Prize Winner, Tanya Tagaq at The Carlu, Nathan Phillips Square and Massey Hall in Toronto. Her work as an arts administrator has her working as part of the organizational team of the Toronto Creative Music Lab, as an Administrator at the Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance as well as an Artistic Producer with Spectrum Music.