Russell Eggleston

Russell Eggleston

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Monday, 11 October 2010 18:09

Now is the Winter of Our Discontent

Cletic-sounding folk-rock, piano-based acoustic gems, funky dance jams and straight-ahead guitar rockers, all with a level of gutsy aplomb and intensity that belies Rik's background as an activist.

Monday, 11 October 2010 16:20

History of Tribe of One

Tribe of One - A Collective History

In 1999, the Foreign Affairs Department of Canada launched a ‘Children in Armed Conflict’ initiative. In response to the government’s request for pilot projects, Rik Leaf and Tribe of One drafted a proposal to travel to Macedonia. Thousands of Albanian, Kosovar refugees fleeing Serbian-led ethnic cleansing campaigns were living in camps outside the capital of Skopje. Tribe of One offered to travel to the camps to provide music, dance and art workshops with children in the refugee camps who had suffered the traumas of war. The proposal caught the attention of then Foreign Affairs MP, Lloyd Axworthy, who approved the group’s proposal. By the time the government approved the project the war had ended and the refugees had returned to what was left of their homes.

In September 1999, in conjunction with War Child Canada and the Canadian government, Tribe of One traveled to Pristina, Kosovo where they participated in a United Nations humanitarian festival called ‘The Return’ hosted by actor Vanessa Redgrave. The U.N.I.C.E.F. initiative drew a roster of international artists, including the Martha Graham Dance Company from New York, composer Phillip Glass, Bruce Cockburn and Lebohang “Lebo M” Morake, the South African composer from Apartheid-ridden Soweto, most famous for arranging and performing music for the Lion King movie.

Traveling with a small video crew, Tribe of One documented their life-changing trip, as a group of university students from Pristina befriended the band and shared their stories as they toured the wreckage of their bombed city. For the previous 10 years, they had not been allowed an education, to speak their own language, walk on the sidewalks, stay out after dark, or be in large groups outdoors. Albanian musicians were not allowed to perform publicly and their opportunity in the theatre was limited to being stagehands. ‘The Return’ signified not just the physical return of Albanians to their homes, but also a return of their culture and their voice to communicate on the world stage as global citizens. The National Theatre was officially opened and the streets were filled day and night with sights and sounds of music, art and large groups celebrating newly won freedom.

When Tribe of One returned to Canada, Robert Enright and the CBC used the band’s footage for a short documentary on the amazing journey and the profound and lasting effect the experience had on the group. Tribe of One’s tour to war-torn Kosovo in many ways marked the beginning of artistic identity that remains to this day, a desire and commitment to use our voices to help others find theirs so they can share their stories with us.

Friday, 01 October 2010 05:28

Best Review Tribe has Ever Got!

It was our second to last day of a three-week tour across Canada's Northwest Territories. Our schedule was crazy. We were leading 9 workshops each day, rotating three groups of students through three separate clinics that were running simultaneously as Buffy, Tina and Rik introduced students to physical movement/dance, visual art and storytelling clinics. During the workshops Marie-Josee was compiling video clips and still photography and producing a professional multi media video she would edit between the end of our clincs at 12:00 noon and our 2:00 p.m. concert start time. The videos highlighted the student's participation in the clinics, documenting the adventure of discovering their unique gifts and abilities and the value and responsibility of each individual to take risks and own their own voice and language to communicate their story.

Each day would culminate in a one-hour creative extravaganza that Tribe of One has become renown for. Musicians, dancers, painters and poets seamlessly weaving their voices, movements, sounds and colours together to provide a spectacular example that allowed students to see how our individual pieces fit with each other in creating the big picture. It's true...together we are better. MJ's video was the pièce de résistance, playing behind the band during the last song of the show, taking that last definitive step to breaking down the barriers between artists and audience and truly becoming a Tribe of One.

So there we were, almost at the end of the tour when a courageous young man approached us. He had raced back to his classroom at the end of the concert and written this review, which we all felt was possibly the very best review we have ever received.

Meegwetch Seth!

Tribe of One

Wednesday, 29 September 2010 02:18

Tribe Of One - Backstage

We're backstage again…moments before the show begins, burrowed deep in the dark recesses behind curtains where brightly coloured props and costumes are strewn like fall leaves…it is an autumn tour after all. The house lights are dim as the theatre begins to fill up with life and laughter as the audience pours through open doors carried on a stream of constant chatter.

Days have blurred into weeks...weeks into a month. We may not know exactly where we are, what town or theatre or even day of the week, but no day on tour ever feels like it could be just 'another day.' On some level this is what we all live for, the reason we happily endure all the work it takes to get to this point…to the moment a promoter screams, ‘Ladies and Gentlemen…Tribe of One!” And as the audience cheers, Marie-Josee draws her bow across the strings and on the resonant drone of an enormous low G, sends us all tumbling head over heels into the swirl of colour and sound, poetry and painting where time loses all meaning and we feel like the best version of ourselves doing what we were created to do…

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