GRIZZLY BEAR TOWN
This song - after which we named the album - is a return to my ancestral origins, my maternal great-grandmother and her birth village, Grizzly Bear Town. It is also about finding peace with the history of colonization—on both sides of that colonial experience—to nourish and sustain future generations. A meditation.
Grizzly Bear Town is another name for my ancestral village of Skedans, the village of my maternal great-grandmother, Susan Williams. T’iis Kwaanaaya, Many Ledges, is the Supernatural Being of the rock cliff behind Skedans. It was once a powerful supernatural killer whale before it became the rock cliff. In this song, Many Ledges is a metaphor for the many ascents and falls in our journey towards enlightenment.
“It is our hope that the music will help listeners of all ages develop a greater appreciation and understanding of indigenous musical genres, bringing an endangered indigenous language, worldview and supernatural beings out of concealment and suppression to reach broader and more diverse audiences.”
Grizzly Bear Town Released August 11, 2017.
Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson with Bill Henderson and Claire Lawrence.
THE HEART OF THIS RECORDING IS IN THE EXPRESSION OF HAIDA LANGUAGE LYRICS IN A CONTEMPORARY SETTING. THE PROJECT BRIDGES CULTURES, RESPECTFULLY BLENDING ANCIENT KNOWLEDGE WITH CONTEMPORARY MUSIC.
Terri-Lynn brings her lyrics and melody together with Bill Henderson (Chilliwack) and Claire Lawrence, who join in singing and providing the instrumentation.
"I like to think of the sound as 'cutting-edge ancient'"
The songs illustrate indigenous cultural concepts, including Haida stewardship and spiritual concepts. Some of the songs contain new lyrics written about supernatural beings or crest-animals in states of transformation. Terri-Lynn was fortunate to work with elders and fluent Haida speakers to translate lyrics for original compositions, from English to Haida.
"She of the Powerful Face” arrives on a reef from the ocean
The embodiment of fertility
Birthing Raven ancestresses
Birthing supernatural beings
that threaten another flood as they arrive
Her gaze gentle, but fierce
the gaze of a mother, protecting her children
Warding off all except Mouse Woman
transforming her so that she can help others
attain their dreams
She nurses her children, our ancestors
Reminding them that our birthplace is the ocean
The waters and foam, her eternal strength
She appears yet today
Gracing the shoreline and rivers
with vestiges of herself
Reminding us of that ancient time