All ten tracks off the Secret Path album are officially available on vinyl today. The 88-page graphic novel featuring the work of Jeff Lemire is also available today. Proceeds from the sale of Secret Path will go to The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation at The University of Manitoba. Orders can be made online on the Merchandise page or on secretpath.ca
Mark your calendars for Sunday’s CBC hour-long broadcast of The Secret Path film on October 23, 2016, at 9pm (9:30pm NT). Visit www.cbc.ca/beta/arts/secretpath for details on how you can tune in.
Mike and Gord Downie and the family of Chanie Wenjack announced the creation of a new Fund focused on creating new relationships between Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples. The Gord Downie & Chanie Wenjack Fund is part of Gord’s commitment and recognition of the wounds that will take generations to heal.
“Generations grew up not hearing about what’s happening in the North and in Indigenous communities everywhere. The next generation can’t be raised the same way,” said Gord Downie. “It is my hope that the Fund will do its part in starting to bridge some of the gaps that exist between Indigenous and non-Indigenous communities.”
At the closing concert of The Tragically Hip’s Man Machine Poem Tour on August 20, Gord Downie called upon Canadians to look North and “do something”. He since travelled to Ogoki Post to meet with the family of Chanie Wenjack. Chanie was a young boy who died in October 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School. Chanie’s story will be told through an album and a graphic novel that will be released on October 18, and an animated film adaptation on October 23. Both the album and graphic novel are available for pre-order on the Merchandise page.
“It’s time for us to acknowledge and help the people we were trained to ignore. It’s time to do something,” said Mike Downie. “This Fund will help make this a reality and will act as a catalyst to forge relationships for reconciliation.”
“Our family and community are grateful that Gord is lending his voice to this important story,” the Wenjack Family said in a statement. Several members of the Wenjack Family will be present at the inaugural Secret Path performance at the National Arts Centre on October 18. For more show details visit the shows page.
In conjunction with the release of Secret Path, the forthcoming album, graphic novel, and film, Gord Downie has announced two live shows, in Ottawa (October 18) and Toronto (October 21), with proceeds directed to reconciliation. Full details below.
Secret Path is ten songs that tell the story of Chanie Wenjack (miscalled “Charlie” by his teachers), a twelve year-old boy who died fleeing the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, fifty years ago, walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away. Downie was introduced to the story by his brother Mike Downie, who shared with him Ian Adams’ Maclean’s story from February 6, 1967, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.”
“Chanie haunts me. His story is Canada’s story. This is about Canada… The next hundred years are going to be painful as we get to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him – as we find out about ourselves, about all of us – but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, Canada.” – Gord Downie
To read Gord Downie’s full statement on Secret Path from September 9, 2016, go HERE.
Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history – the long-suppressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system – with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation. Every year as Chanie Wenjack is remembered, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of the country’s history, urging us all to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada.
Secret Path will arrive on October 18, 2016, in a deluxe vinyl and book edition, and as a book with album download. Pre-order HERE.
The Secret Path animated film will be broadcast by CBC in an hour-long commercial-free television special on Sunday, October 23, 2016, at 9pm (9:30 NT).
FOR MORE INFORMATION ON SECRET PATH: secretpath.ca
WATCH THE SECRET PATH TRAILER HERE
Tuesday, October 18, 2016
Southam Hall, National Arts Centre
Friday, October 21, 2016
Roy Thomson Hall
8PM Show | 6PM Doors
Tickets $50 (w/ a limited number of Gold Circle tickets available $1000)
On Sale Friday, September 23 at 10AM EST
ALL PROCEEDS WILL BE DONATED TO RECONCILIATION
GORD DOWNIE ANNOUNCES SECRET PATH
STATEMENT BY GORD DOWNIE
Ogoki Post, Ontario
September 9, 2016
Mike Downie introduced me to Chanie Wenjack; he gave me the story from Ian Adams’ Maclean’s magazine story dating back to February 6, 1967, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.”
Chanie, misnamed Charlie by his teachers, was a young boy who died on October 22, 1966, walking the railroad tracks, trying to escape from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School to walk home. Chanie’s home was 400 miles away. He didn’t know that. He didn’t know where it was, nor how to find it, but, like so many kids – more than anyone will be able to imagine – he tried. I never knew Chanie, but I will always love him.
Chanie haunts me. His story is Canada’s story. This is about Canada. We are not the country we thought we were. History will be re-written. We are all accountable, but this begins in the late 1800s and goes to 1996. “White” Canada knew – on somebody’s purpose – nothing about this. We weren’t taught it in school; it was hardly ever mentioned.
All of those Governments, and all of those Churches, for all of those years, misused themselves. They hurt many children. They broke up many families. They erased entire communities. It will take seven generations to fix this. Seven. Seven is not arbitrary. This is far from over. Things up north have never been harder. Canada is not Canada. We are not the country we think we are.
I am trying in this small way to help spread what Murray Sinclair said, “This is not an aboriginal problem. This is a Canadian problem. Because at the same time that aboriginal people were being demeaned in the schools and their culture and language were being taken away from them and they were being told that they were inferior, they were pagans, that they were heathens and savages and that they were unworthy of being respected – that very same message was being given to the non-aboriginal children in the public schools as well… They need to know that history includes them.” (Murray Sinclair, Ottawa Citizen, May 24, 2015)
I have always wondered why, even as a kid, I never thought of Canada as a country – It’s not a popular thought; you keep it to yourself – I never wrote of it as so. The next hundred years are going to be painful as we come to know Chanie Wenjack and thousands like him – as we find out about ourselves, about all of us – but only when we do can we truly call ourselves, “Canada.”
“Do we want to live in a haunted house for the rest of our lives?” – Joseph Boyden
NEW ALBUM PRODUCED BY KEVIN DREW AND DAVE HAMELIN
GRAPHIC NOVEL BY JEFF LEMIRE & CBC ANIMATED FILM SPECIAL
SECRET PATH TELLS THE STORY OF CHANIE WENJACK, AN INDIGENOUS BOY WHO DIED RUNNING AWAY FROM A RESIDENTIAL SCHOOL FIFTY YEARS AGO
PROCEEDS WILL BE DONATED TO THE NATIONAL CENTRE FOR TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION
ALBUM AND GRAPHIC NOVEL AVAILABLE FOR PRE-ORDER AT WWW.SECRETPATH.CA
Gord Downie began Secret Path as ten poems, incited by the story of Chanie Wenjack, a twelve year-old boy who died in flight from the Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School near Kenora, Ontario, fifty years ago, walking home to the family he was taken from over 400 miles away. Gord was introduced to Chanie Wenjack (miscalled “Charlie” by his teachers) by Mike Downie, his brother, who shared with him Ian Adams’ Maclean’s story from February 6, 1967, “The Lonely Death of Charlie Wenjack.”
The stories Gord’s poems tell were fleshed into the ten songs of Secret Path with producers Kevin Drew and Dave Hamelin. Recording took place over two sessions at The Bathouse Recording Studios in Bath, Ontario, November and December 2013. The music features Downie on vocals and guitars, with Drew and Hamelin playing all other instruments. Guest musicians include Charles Spearin (bass), Ohad Benchetrit (lap steel/guitar), Kevin Hearn (piano), and Dave “Billy Ray” Koster (drums).
In winter 2014, Gord and Mike brought the recently finished Secret Path music to graphic novelist Jeff Lemire for his help illustrating Chanie Wenjack’s story, bringing him and the many children like him to life.
The ten song album will be released by Arts & Crafts accompanied by Lemire’s eighty-eight page graphic novel published by Simon & Schuster Canada. Secret Path will arrive on October 18, 2016, in a deluxe vinyl and book edition, and as a book with album download.
Downie’s music and Lemire’s illustrations have inspired the The Secret Path, an animated film to be broadcast by CBC in an hour-long commercial-free television special on Sunday, October 23, 2016, at 9pm EST (9:30 NT).
The Secret Path was created, written, and directed by Gord Downie, composed by Gord Downie with Kevin Drew and Dave Hamelin, and illustrated by author Jeff Lemire. The film is executive produced by Mike Downie, Patrick Downie, Gord Downie, and Sarah Polley. The Secret Path is produced by Entertainment One (eOne) and Antica Productions Ltd. in association with CBC, with the participation of the Canada Media Fund and the Canadian Film or Video Production Tax Credit. Jocelyn Hamilton is executive producer for eOne Television and Stuart Coxe is executive producer for Antica Productions. Justin Stephenson is director of animation.
The broadcast date marks the fiftieth anniversary of the morning Chanie’s body was found frozen beside the railroad tracks only twelve miles into his journey.
Proceeds from Secret Path will be donated to The Gord Downie Secret Path Fund for Truth and Reconciliation via The National Centre for Truth and Reconciliation (NCTR) at The University of Manitoba. The NCTR is dedicated to preserving the history of the residential schools in Canada, making this history known, and moving our country forward on the path of reconciliation.
Secret Path acknowledges a dark part of Canada’s history – the long-supressed mistreatment of Indigenous children and families by the residential school system – with the hope of starting our country on a road to reconciliation. Every year as we remember Chanie Wenjack, the hope for Secret Path is that it educates all Canadians young and old on this omitted part of our history, urging our entire nation to play an active role in the preservation of Indigenous lives and culture in Canada.
Jeff Lemire shares insight on Secret Path:
I first met Gord Downie and his brother Mike back in the winter of 2014. They wanted to discuss a potential project and, over coffee, they told me the story of Chanie “Charlie” Wenjack. Gord was then in the final stages of recording his incredible songs based on Chanie’s life and he shared the rough mixes with me in the hopes that I would be interested in creating a graphic novel to accompany his album. Before we left the coffee shop I knew I was going to do it. I had to. Chanie’s story is one that will not let you go once you hear it. It’s a story that can’t be ignored. And yet, somehow, it has been ignored. By nearly all of us.
Growing up white in Southern Ontario, I never learned about Chanie Wenjack or about any of the tens of thousands of other indigenous children like him who were part of Canada’s residential school system. This is such a massive part of our country’s history, yet our schools didn’t teach us about it. Why? Maybe because it’s easier to live with ourselves if we pretend stories like Chanie’s never happened. But they did happen, and still happen. Chanie Wenjack lived and died, and no one knows his story.
I’ve spent the last three years living with Chanie’s story and living inside Gord’s music. Gord’s haunting songs introduced me to Chanie Wenjack. Music is universal. It crosses languages and cultures and speaks to everyone, and I’ve always felt the medium of comics could do the same. It’s our hope that one day Secret Path will be taught in schools and that it will help to shed a light on this all too often ignored part of Canada’s past. I think, above all else, that’s what Gord and I wanted to create: something that can’t be ignored. Every Canadian should know Chanie Wenjack’s name and I hope Secret Path helps to make that a reality.
w/ Graphic Novel by Jeff Lemire
Deluxe Edition (Vinyl & Book)
October 18, 2016
Arts & Crafts
w/ Graphic Novel by Jeff Lemire
Book w/ Download
October 18, 2016
Simon & Schuster Canada
The official “CRATER” video is here! Directed by Norman Wong and projections by Nik Dudukovic.
“This is what you’re seeing. It isn’t us; It is the project. The story isn’t our identities or what has been projected onto us. The story is about the doing of the thing. It is a crater we’re creating: getting crushed in our dreams or, in our dreams, doing all the crushing.”
~ Gord Downie
Check it out!
Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun is set to release its self-titled debut record on April 15 via Arts & Crafts. The album is an emphatic arrival: the mission statement of a young band unhinged. Listen to Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun’s ten songs of visceral punk rock exultation, a spirited exploration of the darkness surrounding daylight, courtesy of Exclaim and CBC Music in Canada, and American Songwriter in the US.
Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun is the self-titled debut record. This is the mission statement of a young band unhinged. Ten songs of visceral punk rock exultation; a spirited half-hour exploration of the darkness surrounding daylight. Each song brims with energy, electricity embellishing a simple, rustic core — now all brash guitars and punk rock gnarl. Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun is an arrival: the combustion of brotherhood and dissent: music of wisdom and innocence: poetry of promise and provocation.
Gord has been working on an exciting new project with his long time friends The Sadies. It came together urgently but slowly, after the long-time Toronto friends first collaborated at a 2006 Lake Ontario Waterkeepers benefit. Fleeting sessions over the next seven years yielded finished songs in immediate, alchemical takes. Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun is the action of first-thought-best-thought.
The project’s namesake, “The Conquering Sun” fuses The Sadies’ rusted psychedelia with Downie’s humble, volatile wail. Mike Belitsky’s roiling drums, and Sean Dean’s sure, standing bass spur the band through uncharted desert-scapes.
Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun boils with hope and irreverence; toils with fire as a tool and a curse. This is the combustion of brotherhood and dissent: music of wisdom and innocence: