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 name 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.”

-Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

 

 
 
 

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.

Recording live at the village of SGang Gwaay in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, a World Heritage Site.

Recording live at the village of SGang Gwaay in Gwaii Haanas National Park Reserve and Haida Heritage Site, a World Heritage Site.

"I like to think of the sound as 'cutting-edge ancient'"

-Terri-Lynn

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 the last fluent Haida speakers to translate lyrics for original compositions, from English to Haida.

Terri-Lynn, Bill and Claire in the recording studio

Terri-Lynn, Bill and Claire in the recording studio

Foam Woman

"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