Through years of steadfast support, NYO Canada's RBC Emerging Artists program has grown to include more activities and artists than ever in 2017. Thanks to our special 2017 artistic programming, this year's RBC Emerging Artists program will include a composer, spoken word artists, and an emerging director that will all have a hand in the development and performance of The Unsilent Project.
Ian Cusson is a Canadian composer and pianist. He studied composition with Jake Heggie and Samuel Dolin and piano with James Anagnoson at the Glenn Gould School. He is the recipient of numerous awards and grants including the Chalmers Professional Development Grant, the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation Award, and several New Work Creation grants through the Ontario Arts Council and the Toronto Arts Council. Of Métis and French Canadian descent, Cusson’s work explores the Canadian Aboriginal experience, including the history of the Métis people, the hybridity of mixed-racial identity, and the intersection of Western and Indigenous cultures. Cusson is one of two NYO Canada composers who have received commissioning support from the Ontario Arts Council in 2017.
Lindsay “Eekwol” Knight is an award-winning hip hop performing artist based in Saskatoon, originally from Muskoday First Nation, Saskatchewan. Through her original sound, she displays her activist roots by living and creating as a supporter of both Hip Hop and Indigenous culture. She successfully completed her Indigenous Music-focused master’s degree at University of Saskatchewan, which along with her many years of dedication to hip hop has created unique artistic expressions blending a variety of genres. Eekwol works frequently with young people across the country as a mentor and educator.
Emerging director Falen Johnson will be involved in hands-on stage direction for the numerous different venues and settings The Unsilent Project will be performed in. Johnson is a Mohawk and Tuscarora writer, dramaturge and actor from Six Nations (Bear Clan). Her first play Salt Baby has been staged with Native Earth Performing Arts, Planet IndigenUS, The Next Stage Festival, and The Globe Theatre. Selected theatre acting credits include The Only Good Indian... (Turtle Gals Performance Ensemble), Triple Truth, A Very Polite Genocide (Native Earth), Death of a Chief (Native Earth/National Arts Centre), and Tombs of the Vanishing Indian (Native Earth/red diva). Johnson has been playwright in residence at Native Earth Performing Arts as well as at Blyth Theatre and is a graduate of George Brown Theatre School.
Brendan McLeod is a Toronto based spoken word artist, writer, and musician. He’s the author of one novel, a one woman play, and two monologues, the most recent of which is his award winning piece on consciousness, Brain. His music group The Fugitives have been nominated for multiple Canadian Folk Music and Western Canada Music Awards. He is a former Canadian SLAM poetry champion and World SLAM runner-up, and was the Poet of Honour at the 2012 Canadian Festival of Spoken Word and the 2015 Victoria Spoken Word Festival.
Zoey Roy is a poet, performing artist, orator, film producer, writer and community educator. Based in Saskatoon, this Cree-Dene Metis artist has been making waves around the world for over ten years with a strong focus at the intersection of Indigenous Rights, Youth Advocacy, Artistic Expression and Education. Zoey holds active roles with the National Arts Centre’s Music Alive Program, Three Things Consulting, and Soul Datta Productions. She has received numerous awards including the Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, the Women of Distinction Award in Saskatoon, and the Indspire Award.