UNESCO has declared 2019 to be the year of Indigenous Language, in recognition of them disappearing at alarming rates. Terri-Lynn's Grizzly Bear Town Album and live show are performed in the endangered Haida language, one of the very few bands that perform in Indigenous languages. Terri-Lynn has recorded three albums in the Haida Language since 2008.
"We make music about place, spirit, culture and laws, wrapped in stunning guitar, sax and flute, expressed in the ancient Haida language."
Grizzly Bear Town is a new album by Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, with Bill Henderson and Claire Lawrence. The heart of this album is to bridge cultures, by respectfully blending ancient knowledge with contemporary music.
Respecting the Calls to Action of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, the music propels the conversation about past and future, responsibility and legacy. The songs illustrate aspects of Haida culture, including supernatural beings such as Cedar Sister, Landslide Lady and Canoe Song, spirituality, and indigenous laws. The album strives to highlight the endangered Haida language and music from the Northwest Coast of Canada.
“Grizzly Bear Town” is best described as “cutting edge ancient.” Improvisatory techniques—common to both Jazz and potlatches—are used to explore the diverse perspectives in this album, cut live-off-the-floor and in the primordial, mystical islands of Haida Gwaii. Their joy and love of this shared creation shines through their compelling performances.
The album was released on August 8 in Haida Gwaii (and iTunes) and August 27 in Vancouver.
The trio first began working together for a MusicBC fundraising concert to purchase instruments for schools in Haida Gwaii in December, 2012. They came together again in 2016 to embark on "Grizzly Bear Town".
Terri-Lynn and the band's live performances are stunning. With beautiful visuals, and sometimes joined by Haida dancers, the shows are reverent and moving. In the fall of 2018 Terri-Lynn performed at the opening of The Art Of Native America exhibit at the Met in New York City.
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson is a unique voice for indigenous cultures. She is a Haida musician, artist, and lawyer, well known for her work in aboriginal-environmental law and as a recognized keeper of traditions. Born and raised in Haida Gwaii, Terri-Lynn has dedicated herself to the continuation of Haida culture. The traditional Haida songs her centenarian great-grandmother sang have motivated and been a beacon throughout her life, leading her to help preserve a legacy of Haida music through the Haida Gwaii Singers Society.
Deep on the front lines of Indigenous Rights, her work strives to open new vistas to her audiences rooted in Indigenous world views, Haida language and laws, music and oral traditions, and branches out to explore their relevance to contemporary society.
The Grizzly Bear Town album shares roots with Terri-Lynn’s art exhibition entitled “Out of Concealment” featured at the nationally acclaimed Haida Gwaii Museum from June 16-December 31, 2017. It is a three-dimensional storytelling installation that features images, music and video about Haida female supernatural beings. The book for “Out of Concealment” was published by Heritage House Publishing in 2017.
Her previous album ‘New Journeys’ garnered a ‘Best Female Artist’ Canadian Aboriginal Music Award (“CAMA”) and numerous nominations, and stayed on the National Aboriginal Music Countdown for almost 40 weeks. Her first album ‘Lalaxaaygans: Beautiful Sound’ received a ‘Best Female/Traditional Cultural Roots’ CAMA.
Bill Henderson is a singer/songwriter, lead vocalist and guitarist with the legendary Canadian rock band Chilliwack. He has also produced numerous recordings, winning a Juno Award for "Producer of the Year" and a Genie Award for best original song in a movie. He was the sound engineer for the Haida Gwaii Singers contemporary box set and was musical director for the Canadian edition of Sesame Street. Bill has also advocated for musicians and songwriters on the industry side, as Director of the Canadian Association of Recording Arts and Sciences (CARAS), and as Director and President of the Songwriters Association of Canada (SAC) and SOCAN. Bill is part of the folk music supergroup “UHF.” In 2015 Bill was honoured with an Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest civilian honours.
“We enjoy being utterly flexible, stepping boldly off musical cliffs, and creating new ground together out of nothing but sound,” says Bill of his musical relationship with long time band mate Claire Lawrence.
Claire Lawrence was a founding member of The Collectors and Chilliwack. A talented multi-instrumentalist, he plays saxophone, flutes, and keyboards. He left the group in 1971 to produce a number of prominent and award-winning Canadian artists and groups including Susan Jacks, Valdy, Shari Ulrich, Roy Forbes, UHF and Connie Kaldor. In 1977 he formed the “Hometown Band” which was awarded the Juno for best new group in 1978. He has scored music for television including Northwood, Cold Squad and the long running Canadian TV series, and The Beachcombers. He also produced Jazz Beat for CBC Radio, along with jazz recordings for artists including Cam Ryga and Rene Rosnes, Laila Biali and Don Thompson, the latter winning a Juno for best jazz album.
"Our concerts are an invitation to come explore new territories, a place the audience didn't know existed, and a sound to summon feelings and images that flow from the Supernatural Beings. We like to help bridge cultures to help connect people of different backgrounds in the spirit of true reconciliation and, to have some fun on the way."
MUSIC: "Grizzly Bear Town" (2017)
Click image to download larger file - for press and publicity use only. Photos by Farah Nosh.
'My Mind is Relieved'
‘My Mind is Relieved’ is from the ‘Grizzly Bear Town’ album released in August 2017. My husband Robert Davidson composed this song to celebrate the completion of a tremendous undertaking, such as a potlatch. He gifted this song to all Haida people at the conclusion of his potlatch on October 29, 2016. Read more →
'Grizzly Bear Town'
In honour of gid7ahl-Gudsllaay, Susan Williams, nee Young, nee Moody. Nanaay 7aawaay, great-grandmother, song custodian, ancestress of the Skedans Ravens, and centenarian who lived from about 1862-1971. Read more →
Peace Making Story
The story and motivation behind our new album, recorded and filmed on location in beautiful Haida Gwaii.
Grizzly Bear Town Story
Our influences behind the song and album, ‘Grizzly Bear Town’.
The Story of sGuuluu Jaad, Foam Woman.
Foam Woman is a Supernatural Being and ancestress of the Haida people who are Ravens.
BEHIND THE SCENES
Supernatural Beings: On Location in Haida Gwaii
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Bill Henderson and Claire Lawrence talk about recording the album Grizzly Bear Town on location in Haida Gwaii, and about the song Landslide Lady.
Truth, Reconciliation & Improvisation
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Bill Henderson and Claire Lawrence talk about their journey of truth, reconciliation and improvisation in the album Grizzly Bear Town.
Grizzly Bear Town - THE Making Of
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Bill Henderson and Claire Lawrence talk about the making of the single Grizzly Bear Town.