Culture

Local youth invited to participate in music video

Shy-Anne Hovorka readies to sign record deal
By Lisa Dumontier

Area youth interested in gaining some insight into the music industry are getting the opportunity to do just that thanks to locally raised Aboriginal musician Shy-Anne Hovorka. Well on her way to making it big, Thunder Bay-based Hovorka is making great use of the region’s ever-growing music and film production scene as she readies to record a new music video for her song Fire and is inviting youth from various creeds, cultures and communities to participate in the shoot as background extras.

Shy-Anne Hovorka

With a clear picture in her mind of how her latest music video is set to unfold, Hovorka confirms that despite the fact that Fire was written four years ago and performed at the Aboriginal Music Awards in Winnipeg in 2008, the song remains a favourite of hers and has always been a tune she’d envisioned in video-form. The song is about the Ojibwe prophecy, the 8th Fire, which details how mankind is quickly nearing a point in its existence where it will have to choose between a material and spiritual way of life. According to Hovorka, the prophecy says that it will be the Ogichitaa—translated as “Warriors of the Rainbow”—that will lead mankind on the right path to the lighting of the 8th fire, a period of eternal peace and harmony where the destruction of the past will be healed. The Elders that Hovorka has been working with believe that the “children of many colours” are the Ogichitaa which is what the songstress aims to showcase in her video scheduled to be shot in March.

While shooting a music video will typically cost between the $20,000 and $40,000, according to Hovorka, Fire will be filmed for substantially less than that thanks to videographer and band mate Damien Gilbert who has offered to waive his fees and collect on favours from friends to help produce the video for free. Despite the discount, Hovorka remains unable to cover travel or other expenses incurred by video participants and is hoping that she’ll be able to attract throngs of volunteers who are interested in sharing the experience.

“I want the video to feature a lot of children and I want these children to represent each of the four colours in the medwewin—Aboriginal decent, African decent, Asian decent and children representing the ‘white’ corner. I’m thinking a minimum of 100 kids,” confirmed Hovorka who noted that while eight of these kids will be required to dress in full regalia, other youth participants will be able to choose between ethnic costumes and plain street clothes. “I’ve been talking to Anna Gibbon, the Aboriginal Liaison with the City of Thunder Bay, and through Parks and Recreation she has identified a great spot where the kids will be elevated so you can see them all and each kid, as they come onto scene, will be carrying a single candle. The video will flip back and forth between the piano and the kids and by the end, there will be many kids and many candles.”

And Fire is not all Hovorka has hiding up her sleeve as the talented northerner confirmed last week that she feels like she’s on the cusp of the success she’s always dreamed of and currently is on the verge of finishing her third album, preparing for a summer tour and is collaborating on a performance with the Thunder Bay Symphony Orchestra to debut in November. Constantly moving forward, the songstress is also working out the details on a contract with a record label and artist management group that would continue to enable her to spend time in Ontario’s far north.

“What I want to do is keep the integrity of working with the youth so that [the contract holders] are not trying to make it a strictly marketing/money making thing,” explained Hovorka. “I’ll do the shows and things that they would like me to do but I’m trying to write a clause into the contract that would keep my northern tours untouchable by them—I don’t want to have to charge communities a lot of money to perform because visits to these communities are something I do because I want to and not because there is money to be made. I need to keep that integrity.”

And while she admits that she hasn’t quite made it yet, the musician believes that she’s already accomplished far more in her music career then she ever expected and is hoping to serve as proof to northern Ontario youth that, if you work hard enough, any obstacle is surmountable.

“For every performance I do, 90 per cent of that performance was work behind the scenes. As an artist, the performance is maybe 10 per cent of what you do and there are a lot of kids who don’t get that. They think ‘somebody sees me perform, signs me and I’m going to make a lot of money’—but that’s not the way it works. You can get there but it takes years and years of work,” finished Hovorka who took one year off from teaching four years ago to give her dream a shot. “As cheesy as it sounds, if it wasn’t for the support and encouragement I received from my home community Red Lake, I would have never had the courage to give this whole thing a chance.”

Interested in taking part in Hovorka’s “Fire” video? Contact the artist by visiting her Facebook page or emailing shyanne.leah@gmail.com.

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