Inuk singer-songwriter Willie Thrasher and his singing partner Linda Saddleback performed to a captivated audience at SFU on Friday, November 18. The concert was preceded by the premiere screening of The Recording of Willie Thrasher, a documentary produced by Am Johal and Adam O. Thomas.
Willie Thrasher is an Inuk singer-songwriter from Aklavik, Inuvik. At the age of five, Thrasher was taken from his family and sent to a residential school where he was isolated from and forbidden to practice his Inuvialuit culture. In the mid-1960s, he drummed for the Cordells, one of the first Inuit rock bands. One evening, a stranger recommended that the group tap into their Aboriginal roots, instead of the charts, for inspiration. This prompted Thrasher to write songs about his life, people, and the environment — as heard on his 1981 record Spirit Child LP, CBC.
Willie Thrasher and Linda Saddleback are “trailblazing troubadours with an Indigenous heartbeat sound.” Their performance at SFU was met with enormous gratitude, and celebrated Thrasher’s great contributions to Canadian and Indigenous music.
The evening was captured by photographer Becky Bonzom.
Below is the full video for The Recording of Willie Thrasher.