Oct 6 2007 1:53 PM
See how nice she is?
Buffalohair/ Carlos: ANDREA MENARD, Métis Magnifique 4:28 AM
In writing this interview I was poised with two options. I could write about this beautiful award winning actress/playwright/singer and the many accomplishments and awards she has earned fore there are many. Andrea and her producer and co-writer Robert Walsh took Canada by storm as this songstress forged a trail to fame with her enchanting voice and acting prowess. Rabbit Falls, a TV series has become a favorite on the Aboriginal People’s Television Network and a second season is on the horizon. I’ve reviewed the show and was quite jealous that we don’t get APTN here in the states.
Born, 1971 in Flin Flon Manitoba from humble Métis roots her reflections brought us to a time when she was a little girl. Her father was lovingly known as “The King of the Kitchen Party” since it was the norm for Métis families and friends to sing and enjoy the day. Her mother was a singer and little Andrea was the back up singer. Andrea held dear these memories of her youth and accredited her family for planting the seeds that has blossomed into her wondrous career.
It was never her intention to become a singer. Fact is she did not imagine or consider singing as an occupation and something to get paid for. Music and singing was simply a part of her childhood and a very real part of the Métis way of life. From serving in the Canadian Army to being voted Saskatoon’s Sexiest Female by readers of Planet S Magazine, Andrea has come of age. She’s performed before His Royal Highness, The Earl of Wessex, Prince Phillip, His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales and yes, Her Royal Majesty, Queen Elizabeth just to name a few. Not bad for a little Native girl from Flin Flon eh.
As we discussed her career it became obvious to me that there was yet another story or as I mentioned earlier, another option. I came to know her not only an accomplished performer but a driven woman. The love of her people became most apparent to me as she began to share the inner Andrea Menard. She had something to prove to the world. Though her career was in full swing she had an agenda that many others would not have considered. She wanted to show the world that Native people were not relegated only to the restrictive roles so often given. And prove she did fore Andrea completely shattered this myth since she excelled in genres never considered possible. The stereotypical Tontoesk imagery of “Tom Tom Beating” Natives has forever been cast afoul.
Like Rick Dakotah concert pianist and musical maven extraordinaire, Andrea has shown the world that Native People can achieve and excel in genres once not considered possible or allowable. Her talent has broken the constrictive mold that was cast around Native entertainers since time immemorial. In Canada, she has managed to cross the invisible racial barrier. Canadians from all ethnic origins and skin tone have come to love this wonderfully talented Métis girl. An enchantress by every stretch of the imagination, Andrea has captivated all who were fortunate to be enriched by her performances. She truly has become a world class artist and the pride of the Métis Nation.
Ah, but there is more to this articulate songstress. As we enjoyed our conversation we began to share the innermost aspects of our personas. We began to share concepts of life and our spirituality. Truly aware of the times we live; Andrea was more than forthcoming about her desire to help humanity through her art. The lyrics of many of her songs told stories of the realities within Native life. From tales of her childhood to ballads about the human condition Andrea had become a messenger of hope and healing in the troubled times we live. We joked about the contrast of the two of us. Andrea, the messenger of love and healing then me, the crusty hard bitten journalist, but we shared the same vision. About a month ago she called me her brother in spirit and after this interview I must agree with her. We are dedicated to making a positive difference within the First Nation and humanity as a whole. It was once said Andrea Menard was the Good Will Ambassador of the Métis Nation. I contend she is the Good Will Ambassador of Humanity.
As for me, I’m The Devil’s Advocate..lol
“I’m a jazz singer and a folk and country singer. But lots of people still don’t know that Aboriginal people touch every single genre of music. We’re not in one little category”