© Herald photo by Tyler Clarke
Glen Strong, right and his daughters Rebecca, 10, and Allison-Rae, 17, from left, make up the musical group Thunder and the SkyDancers, who performed at Tapestrama at the E. A. Rawlinson Centre on the weekend. Missing at Saturday’s performance was Amanda Strong, 21.
It was a musical birthday for Allison-Rae Strong, who on the day she turned 17 performed at Tapestrama alongside her family.
Joined by her father Glen and 10-year-old sister Rebecca, Allison-Rae performed both as part of their family group Thunder and the SkyDancers, as well as her solo act.
“At first, when my dad told me ‘You’re going to perform on your birthday,’ I was so mad because I don’t feel like singing on my birthday, but I decided I’d do it and I’m glad I did it,” she said after the family’s performance at the E. A. Rawlinson Centre on Saturday.
“It pumped me up more, and I wanted to keep going.”
It’s a big year for the 17-year-old, who currently holds the No. 3 spot on the Saskatchewan aboriginal radio chart with her song, Those Days Are Gone -- behind only Chester Knight & The Wind and Donny Parenteau.
During the family’s performance on Saturday, Allison-Rae performed a handful of songs from her forthcoming album, which they’re in the process of recording at Prince Albert’s Mosaic Music.
“We wanted to have it out by her birthday, but sometimes things slow down, but we continue to work on them,” Glen said, adding that they plan on self-releasing the album once it’s done.
“If it goes well in the province, I think it’ll go well national as well,” he said.
With the weekend’s Tapestrama festivities centred on culture, the Strong family shared their aboriginal roots with the audience – Glen identifying as Métis and his daughters identifying as Dené.
“We feel that there’s an aboriginal flair to it,” Glen said, adding that their songs’ drumbeat is the clearest signifier of aboriginal culture, representing “the heartbeat of the land”
The Strong family lives in Prince Albert. Glen’s eldest daughter, Amanda Strong, 21, was unable to perform on Saturday due to work obligations.
Various other musicians and dancers performed at this year’s Tapestrama, representing the many cultures present in Prince Albert -- a city increasingly identified as multicultural.