Robertson Theatre

Rez Bluez Workshop featuring Elaine Bomberry (Ojibway/Cayuga, Six Nations) and Murray Porter (Mohawk, Six Nations.)

Through this Rez Bluez workshop, they explore the hidden history, and musical truth of Indigenous peoples and the origins of the blues. Is there an Indigenous musical
influence on the formation of the Blues…is there a connection through the Stomp Dance, call and response singing? Is there a valid theory here?

Elaine produced an award-winning radio documentary series in 2004 called “The Aboriginal Music Experience” **, and the second hour, `Rez Bluez’ explores this topic.
Interviews were conducted with various Indigenous musicians and artists on their thoughts on this theory, including JUNO Hall of Famer and Oscar winner, Buffy Sainte-
Marie. (Elaine would play a small sample of this segment for the audience).

Both Murray and Elaine address this early formation of the blues, by discussing:
• The cross-cultural exchange that happened with runaway African slaves and
Indigenous people
• The drumbeat of Indigenous people and its influence on the early blues
• The role of the Tuscarora Nation and the Underground Railroad
• Evolution of the blues from the mouth of the Mississippi to cities in the North by
highlighting some of the early blues musicians who have Native heritage, ie. Big
Joe Williams, Charley Patton, Little Walter, Eddy ‘The Chief’ Clearwater, The
Neville Brothers, to name a few. Song samples will be played, for example “Congo
Square” by The Neville Brothers
• Murray will discuss his Blues Journey of being a self-taught musician, and his
introduction to the blues. He will perform a few songs to show his songwriting
style, which are songs that reflect the Indigenous experience, as told thru his
• Rez Bluez today – the showcases; radio and TV series on the Aboriginal Peoples
Television Network.
• The last segment of the workshop would be for Q & A.