SPEAKERS AND PANELISTS



Please stay tuned for more updates and announcements coming soon!

Aengus Finnan

Executive Director Folk Alliance International

Aengus Finnan is an Irish-Canadian artist, educator, and arts administrator currently serving as the first non-US Executive Director of Folk Alliance International - a global nonprofit based in Kansas City. Previously he served as the Touring and Audience Development Officer for the Ontario Arts Council, Program Manager for Community Futures, founding Artistic Director of the Shelter Valley Folk Festival, and past-Board President of Folk Music Ontario. He spent a decade touring internationally as a singer-songwriter with 3 albums, and taught elementary school in Moosonee and Inuvik. A recipient of the Golden Jubilee Medal for humanitarian and cultural contributions to Canada.

Alfredo Caxaj

Executive & Co-Artistic Director of Sunset - London Committee for Cross Cultural Arts Inc.

Since arriving in Canada in 1985 during the height of political repression in his native Guatemala, Alfredo Caxaj has truly made a difference in his adopted community of London, Ontario. With an intuitive understanding of the power of the arts, and of cultural diversity as the very essence of the human experience, his vision has remained tenacious and his organizing skills tireless. A familiar face to people from many walks of life, Alfredo has served for more than two decades as the Executive and Co-Artistic Director of the non-profit Sunfest-London Committee for Cross Cultural Arts Inc. Since debuting in July 1995, SUNFEST (the Committee’s signature free admission festival of music, dance, crafts and cuisine from around the globe) has grown into “Canada’s Premier Celebration of World Cultures” with an annual attendance of more than 110,000 unique visits (Voted by the Globe & Mail as one of the 100 best summer events in the country several years back) and highlighted for several consecutive years by the prestigious UK publication Songlines Magazine, as one of the best festivals overseas.

Amanda Rheaume

Artist / Director of Operations IIMS

Andres Mendoza

Vice President of CARAS

Andrés has the honour of leading a small yet mighty team of music loving professionals responsible for brand strategy at the Canadian Academy of Recording Arts & Sciences. The “Brand Team” handles marketing, communications, creative, digital/social and partnerships for the JUNO Awards, The Canadian Music Hall of Fame, The Allan Slaight JUNO Master Class and year-round CARAS initiatives. His music career began in 1991 when he became an artist manager, promoter and agent with Antara Productions, a Montréal-based Latin Music company he co-founded with Edgardo Linares. His subsequent roles have included label executive, content developer and sponsorship leader. Prior to CARAS, Mendoza created music marketing and strategy consultancy, Cuto, worked at Virgin/EMI Music Canada, Ent! Marketing, Harbourfront Centre and has been a jury member for the Canada Council of the Arts, FACTOR, Ontario Creates, and counselor at AMP Camp, the predecessor of Indigenous Music Camp. In addition to amplifying and celebrating JUNO Nominees and Winners, some of the artists he has worked with over the years include Alex Cuba, Adam Cohen, Coldplay, Corinne Bailey Rae, Manu Chao, Jesse Cook, Sarah Brightman, Joss Stone, Ben Harper, Jarvis Church, Lhasa de Sela, Paulo Ramos and Papo Ross. Mendoza was born in Chile, grew up in Vancouver, lived in Montréal and has called Tkaronto home since 1997. He’s a progressive, cultural/political junkie and the proud dad of Isabella and Julian.

Banakonda Kennedy Kish Bell

Elder

Chef Johl

Chef Johl Whiteduck Ringuette

Cynthia Lickers-Sage

Executive Indigenous Performing Arts Alliance

Denise Bolduc

Creative Director and Producer

Denise Bolduc is an established creative director and producer who programs to transform perspectives and activate change. Her career of three decades represents countless contributions and connections with numerous celebrated artists, creative thinkers and leading cultural institutions with an emphasis on elevating Indigenous voices. Denise is Anishinaabe and French, and is a member of the Batchewana First Nations with familial ties in Ketegaunseebee.

Duke Redbird

Elder / Poet / Activist / Educator / Artist

Dr. Duke Redbird is an elder, poet, activist, educator, and artist. With a legacy stretching back to the 1960s, he is a pillar of First Nations literature in Canada and has practiced a number of art disciplines including poetry, painting, theatre, and film. He was a trailblazer throughout the 60s & 70s giving voice to Indigenous people at major institutions and folk festivals across the country. From 1994-2009, he was the arts & entertainment reporter for CITY-TV in Toronto. Dr. Redbird’s most recent collection of poems is titled POETRY. Several of his poems from the anthology have been set to music by The Sultans of String for the albums Refuge and Sanctuary and the soon to be released Walking Through the Fire.

Duke Redbird

elder, poet, activist, educator, and artist

Dr. Duke Redbird is an elder, poet, activist, educator, and artist. With a legacy stretching back to the 1960s, he is a pillar of First Nations literature in Canada and has practiced a number of art disciplines including poetry, painting, theatre, and film. He was a trailblazer throughout the 60s & 70s giving voice to Indigenous people at major institutions and folk festivals across the country. From 1994-2009, he was the arts & entertainment reporter for CITY-TV in Toronto. Dr. Redbird’s most recent collection of poems is titled POETRY. Several of his poems from the anthology have been set to music by The Sultans of String for the albums Refuge and Sanctuary and the soon to be released Walking Through the Fire.

Jorge Requena Ramos - Moderator

Executive Director of WECC

Jorge Requena Ramos is a multi-disciplinary artist who grew up in Mexico City and now calls Winnipeg Manitoba his home. He has done extensive work as a film director, playwright and television producer. He became the Artistic director of the WECC in 2019 after spending a decade amongst performers, travelling across Canada, the US and Europe with his band “The Mariachi Ghost”. In his tender at the WECC he has overseen the development and growth of Winterruption a festival that celebrates life in a winter city at -40 below. He has also helped the WECC transition into anAnti-racist, Anti-Oppressive strategic plan that will see their programming and practices reflect the truly diverse fabric of Canada.

Keziah Myers

Executive Director ADVANCE

Keziah Myers believes in the skills and uniqueness of this country and knows that there is so much talent yet to be discovered. Currently as the Executive Director of ADVANCE – Canada’s Black Music Business Collective, Keziah’s main role is to advocate for the betterment, upliftment, and retention of Black Talent within the music industry. Leading this organization, Keziah focuses on changing processes, creating opportunities, and providing resources to ADVANCE members, and music industry organizations. Prior to ADVANCE, Keziah led music licensing initiatives at Entandem, and the A&R Operations at SOCAN, where she was instrumental in ensuring diverse hiring, updating internal systems, improving operations, and enabling all offices to better serve 150 000 members.

Leela Gilday

Artist

If you’re from the North, Leela Gilday’s music is home. If you’ve never been, it will take you there. Born and raised in the Northwest Territories, she writes about the people and the land that created her. The power in her voice conveys the depth of her feelings of love and life in a rugged environment and vibrant culture, as if it comes straight from that earth. Leela’s family is from Délįne on the shore of Great Bear Lake and her rich vocals dance across the rhythmic beats of traditional Dene drumming as smoothly as a bass line onstage the largest venues in the country. And she has played them all.

Marek Tyler

Artist, Educator, Entrepreneur

Mihirangi

Artist

Noel Habel

Noel Habel is a member of the Sioux Valley Dakota First Nation with a degree in music and arts administration from the University of Ottawa. He has played in several bands as a drummer and percussionist in the Ottawa area before settling down and starting a family. His artistic career was put on hiatus for 14 years while he worked as a program officer for the Canada Council for the Arts travelling to many communities and events to help Indigenous artists in the pursuit of their project and career goals. Noel moved to Quebec City in July of 2018 to experience more personal and professional challenges and in addition to crafting his artistic persona William C. Wikcemna Yamni Ake Wanzi and releasing his first 2 singles, he also narrated a governor general award-winning book Mamaskatch by author Darryl McLoed. He helped the Franco-Ontarian pop group LGS promote their #1 single On Perds La Tête throughout Ontario and Quebec, performing live with the group at several radio station. In the summer of 2019, he travelled to Switzerland with Indigenous troupe Kwaweyih to present a 2-hour DJ set at the Paleo music festival. He also worked as a consultant for the literary committee of Canada FBM2020 which had the responsibility of organizing the Canadian representation as the guest of honor at the Frankfort Book fair in 2021. He is still employed by the Canada Council for the Arts and working on releasing his first solo album in his spare time.

Sara Curruchich

Mayan Kaqchikel singer and songwriter

Sara Curruchich was born in 1993 in San Juan Comalapa, Chimaltenango, in a Mayan Kaqchikel community, in the central highlands of Guatemala. Her people have a long tradition of art and knowledge, as well as a history of resistance and struggle. Her music is thus born from her people’s collective and individual feelings, history, memory, culture, languages and struggles, as well as her own, personal stance as an artist. Sara Curruchich is the first Indigenous Guatemalan singer and songwriter to sing in Kaqchikel (her mother tongue), as well as Spanish, for an international audience. Her voice and message of love, awareness, respect and defense of life in all its forms, have led many people to regard her as a beacon of light and hope.

ShoShona Kish

Artist / Executive Director IIMS

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