York alumna and songwriter headlines International Women’s Day

Medicine song woman Brenda MacIntyre (BA Hons. ’99), a singer-songwriter, inspirational speaker and healer, will bring her blend of Aboriginal hand drumming, roots and blues stylings and soulful vocals to the celebration of International Women’s Day at York.

A 2010 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee for Aboriginal songwriter of the year for her newest CD, Medicine Song, she will be part of Voices Rising, an evening of spoken word and live music taking place at York March 7, from 5 to 8pm, in The Underground, Student Centre, Keele campus. It is an all ages, pay what you can, event with donations going to the Canadian Women’s Foundation. The venue is accessible and ASL/English interpretation will be provided.

MacIntyre, whose song Rock a Talk was on the 1992 Juno Award winning compilation CD The Gathering, will be joined by musician Sara Marlowe, spoken word artist Lara Bozabalian, contemporary blues poet Amani (Anne-Marie Woods) and Lishai Peel, one of the founding members of  Kemba  Collective –  a group of artists working to create safe spaces for women’s voices, stories and talents. Voices Rising is a celebration of women and empowerment and focuses on how women through their voices can rise from the barriers that can hold them back.

Several events will take place this year at York in celebration of International Women’s Day on March 8, including a Wen-Do Self-Defense class free to any York member, from 11am to noon, in Room 307, The Student Centre. For more information, contact SASSL at ext. 40345. On March 7 and 8, from 10am to 4pm, SASSL will also host a card sale fundraiser in Vari Hall with proceeds going to a local women’s shelter.

Human Trafficking: What Do You Know? What Can You Do? will be in Vari Hall on March 8, from 10am to 4pm. Did you know, domestic sex traffickers earn an average of $280,000 annually from every victim under their control and human trafficking is tied with illegal arms trade as the second largest criminal activity worldwide? The event is co-hosted by York’s Centre for Human Rights. Proceeds from the event will benefit York’s Harriet Tubman Institute for Research on the Global Migrations of African People and the Alliance Against Modern Slavery.

Starting at 5:30pm on International Women’s Day in Stedman Lecture Halls A, York’s Amnesty International will host a screening of The 10 Conditions of Love, a 53-minute documentary written and directed by Jeff Daniels and produced by John Lewis, Dennis Smith and Daniels through Arcimedia & Common Room Productions. The film tells the story of Rebiya Kadeer, and her fight for the rights of her people, the Uyghur (pronounced wee-ger), in what they call East Turkestan in China. Kadeer, twice nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize, spent six years in solitary confinement in a Chinese prison.

Wrapping up International Women’s Day celebrations, is what’s being hailed as an engaging and inspiring art event at the Free Gallery, 1277 Bloor St. W. in Toronto, staring at 7pm and hosted by SASSL. The cost of admission is the donation of a feminine or toiletry product.

For more information on International Women’s Day events, visit York’s Centre for Human Rights website.

Each year on International Women’s Day, Canadians celebrate progress toward equality for women and their full participation, reflect on the challenges and barriers that remain, and consider future steps to achieving equality for all women, in all aspects of their lives. Visit the Status of Women Canada website for more information.

Voices Rising: Artist biographies

Brenda MacIntyre‘s latest CD, Medicine Song, can be heard on the radio across Canada and the United States. Her 26-year career has included three top 10 radio debuts, international radio play and appearances on MuchMusic, CityTV, APTN, OMNI, Vision and TVO. She has been nominated for a Canadian Reggae Music Award and an Aboriginal People’s Choice Award. This year she is nominated for a K.M. Hunter Artist Award from the Ontario Arts Foundation. MacIntyre is the creator of the women’s empowerment movement “Sing Your Self Alive!” bringing a renewed sense of inspiration and enthusiasm to the lives of women around the world.

Sara Marlowe has played at social justice rallies and protests for the last decade and has recently formed a new electronic band, Davaar. Her latest CD, True Stories, has been described as a poetic appeal for peace.

Lara Bozabalian, a spoken word artist, was a member of the 2009 Toronto Slam Poetry Team. She is the author of four chapbooks, Exhale to December, The Morning Glories, New Dream and Free. Her first full length collection, The Cartographer’s Skin, was published by Piquant Press in 2010.

Amani (Anne-Marie Woods), a contemporary blues poet, Amani has her own style of delivering spoken word and poetry. Some of her pieces are acapella, others use musical accompaniment. Her performance credits span from being the opening act for jazz legend Roy Ayers in the Jazz by Genre Concert Series to performing internationally at the Drum in Birmingham, England, and the Word Power Black International Literary Expo in London, England. She has been the international feature at the Rapso Festival in Trinidad and has headlined at the world famous Nuyorican café in New York City. She has also used her talent to work with and educate young people across Canada and internationally.

Lishai Peel believes in art as a tool for community development and uses her words to create dialogue and retell her-story. She is one of the founding members of the Kemba Collective, a dynamic group of artists working to create safe spaces for women’s voices, stories and talents to be shared and celebrated in Toronto and she facilitates spoken word workshops with UNITY Charity and the Toronto Poetry Project.