A rising star on the Canadian world / classical / folk / electronica scenes, award-winning Aboriginal cellist Cris Derksen is known for building layers of sound into captivating performances. Her music braids the traditional and contemporary in multiple dimensions, weaving her traditional classical training and her aboriginal ancestry with new school electronics, creating genre defying music.
On her debut solo effort, The Cusp, the 13 tracks range from classically oriented, multitracked soundscapes (“We Danced Movement I & II”) to upbeat party bumps inspired by her half-Cree ancestry (“Pow.wow.wow”) and hybridized pieces that sound readymade for climatic moments in art or cinema.
In 2011, The Cusp was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award, and won the 2011 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Instrumental Album of the Year. She was honoured with funding from First Tracks, to make POW WOW WOW, an APTN Music Video, released in early 2012.
Recent composer credits include 8th Fire (4-part television mini-series – CBC – 2012); TransMigration (Kahawi Dance, 2012); Kutz and Dawgs (Miscellaneous Production- 2012) People of a Feather (feature film – Joel Heath and the Community of Sanikiluaq – 2011); The Gathering (VANOC – CTV & APTN television – Hyphen Productions – 2010); and Native Youth Project (UBC Museum of Anthropology – 2009)
Cris has toured nationally and internationally as a solo artist and performing her own compositions with Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq. She has performed internationally at: Women in (e)motion (Germany), Future En Seine (France), WOMAX (Spain), SXSW (Texas), Riddu Riddu (Norway), Respect Festival, Colors of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Barroquisimo (Mexico), MADE festival (Sweden).
Back home, Derksen has performed at: Vancouver Island Music Fest, Regina Folk Festival, Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, Arctic Winter Games, Frostbite Festival, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues, Harrison Music Festival, Rifflandia, Dawson City Music Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, JunoFest, the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and the 2010 Cultural Olympiad.
As a side player Cris has performed with hip hop star Kanye West, Veda Hille, Tanya Tagaq, Christa Couture, Kinnie Starr, Lightening Dust (Black Mountain), Rae Spoon, Leela Gilday, Ivan e Coyote and e.s.l.
Cris Derksen originally comes from Northern Alberta. There is a line of chiefs from North Tall Cree reserve on her Fathers side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s side.
Cris obtained a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance at UBC and shared the title of Principal Cellist of the UBC Symphony Orchestra. In 2009 she was recognized by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network as one of it’s rising stars and The Georgia Straight’s “Who to Watch”. She was also a Curator in Residence at the Vancouver East Cultural Center (The Cultch).
“It’s not every night you see a cellist pack a club dance floor. But Cris Derksen is not just another classically trained musician bowing away in the background. Kicking out electronic beats and using her loop station and pedal board to bring the noise, the UBC grad is building an international reputation for invention, session work and performance.” – The Vancouver Province
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