"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 to propel the conversation about past and future, history and legacy.
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 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)
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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.
Landslide is a crest of the Skedans Ravens that represents the irresistible power of the Chief—one that inspires people, draws out and builds upon others’ strengths, instead of speaking about others’ weaknesses. In nature, landslides occur when the land is out of balance. A powerful and destructive force, it can also be cleansing: removing the imbalance so that life begins anew in the area of the slide. Landslide Lady is written from the perspective of a landslide, expressing the hope and belief of the earth in humanity to restore the balance and start anew.
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson - Grizzly Bear Town - Making Of
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson, Bill Henderson and Claire Lawrence talk about the making of the single Grizzly Bear Town. ￼This song is about finding peace with the history of colonization. This song presents a way of being with both this history and the enduring legacy of colonization—for Indigenous Peoples and those descended from the colonizers—to nourish and sustain the generations to come.
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson - 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.
Peace Making Song
The story and motivation behind our new album, recorded and filmed on location in beautiful Haida Gwaii. Haida language and ancient musical traditions, supernatural beings, Haida laws, and stewardship of land and sea. Cutting-edge ancient music.
Grizzly Bear Town Music Video
Grizzly Bear Town’ is the music video from the new album released 9-August-2017,
Here’s our story about the making of the song and album, ‘Grizzly Bear Town’ (released 9-August-2017). Filmed on location in the village of Skedans, with the permission of the Gaagyaals KiiGawaay (the Skedans Ravens), the Archipelago Management Board and Parks Canada Agency, at Gwaii Haanas National Marine Conservation Area Reserve, and Haida Heritage Site, Haida Gwaii and with the assistance of the Haida Gwaii Watchmen.
The Story of sGuuluu Jaad, Foam Woman.
Foam Woman is a Supernatural Being and ancestress of the Haida people who are Ravens. This is an excerpt of the song, from the album Grizzly Bear Town, released August 2017.