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A special performance on January 31, 2020 in collaboration with renowned ice architect Luca Roncoroni + Sputnik Architecture

Over the past few years in Winnipeg, there has been a noted shift toward accepting and appreciating our identity as one of the coldest cities on Planet Earth. There are now several events and initiatives like the Manitoba 150 River Trail, the Warming Huts, Raw: Almond, and Big Fun Festival, along with mainstays like Festival du Voyageur that take place in the dead of winter, minus 30 be damned (“Spirited Energy” be damned too). Winnipeg is our weird, cold home — let’s get the long-johns on and freeze our asses off together.

In keeping with that, Royal Canoe is pleased to announce that we’ll be performing a free outdoor show on the river at The Forks on January 31st. Since it’s too cold to play guitars or drums, we’ll be using a combination of instruments and triggers carved from blocks of ice pulled directly from Muir Lake at FortWhyte Alive to present completely reimagined versions of our material. There will be ice drums and percussion, an ice sample kit/light-machine, some pitched ice instruments, and an ice horn, in addition to our usual keyboards and synthetic textures. Our intention is for the tone and mood of the performance to complement the stark, yet fierce, environment on the river in winter. It will be an adventure and challenge for us to explore some different sounds and tools than we’re accustomed to, but we’re also excited to deconstruct the structures, tempos, and keys of our songs. We’re hoping it’ll sound like 70s-era David Bowie or The Knife went to Antarctica got really into the sound of ice and then decided to cover Royal Canoe songs.

We will be teaming up with some tremendously talented people to pull this off: Sputnik Architecture and Luca Roncoroni (creative director of ICEHOTEL in Sweden) will design and build the instruments and performance area right on the river, projectionist Stephanie Cruse will create original visuals that will interact with the icescape, and Andy Rudolph will use his ingenuity to develop the custom ice sound and light triggers technology.

We would like to acknowledge that this performance will take place in Treaty 1 territory, the traditional territory of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene Peoples and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. It is a special privilege as colonial descendants to have the opportunity to perform on the ice in such a sacred place where the two rivers meet.

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