The music of cellist and composer Cris Derksen bears the mark of a true original. Classical, Indigenous and urban elements combine: you may get the propulsive pounding of powwow music, the head-nodding rhythms of a hip hop track, the metronome thumps of a techno mix, or all three in the same song. Her instruments are loop pedals, a drum machine and, of course, the cello: its melodies are plaintive but catchy, growing in number as the song progresses. These hooks repeat like echoes, part of a thick mixture yet distinct within it.
Hailing from North Tallcree chiefs on her father’s side and Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s, Derksen mixes styles like a painter mixes colours. Haunting, often mournful, yet somehow always celebratory, her music speaks to her mixed heritage and answers our multicultural needs. It’s as if Derksen has voices inside her, speaking from our nation’s past and the global present all at once.