The ‘music and stories’ of ice come to a Yellowknife stage


Pianist Megumi Masaki returns to Yellowknife next week to perform a series of compositions about ice, climate change and the North at the Northern Arts and Cultural Centre.

Masaki will perform Yellowknife composer Carmen Braden’s piece See The Freeze, Hear The Thaw alongside Ian Cusson’s Frozen Roads and Kotoka Suzuki’s Vista.

The concert follows work stretching back more than a year to pair Masaki’s playing with an on-stage multimedia accompaniment. Braden and NWT filmmakers Caroline Cox, Tiffany Ayalik, and Ben McGregor spent time in 2021 gathering interviews about the ice and the North’s changing climate with Elders, a harvester, an ice scientist, young Yellowknife-based climate activists, a houseboater, and an ice road truck driver.

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In a press release, Braden said the NACC audience on October 20 can expect “spectacular images of the freeze-up season from 2021 … woven throughout the music and stories of this poignant performance.”

The finished project is titled Hearing Ice.

“In all my years of working with ice as a source of artistic inspiration, I have never been so moved as when I was working on this piece,” stated Braden, who has previously dunked microphones under ice and frozen a piano in the wilderness, in the same press release.

“Hearing the voices of my neighbours, friends, colleagues, and the younger generation speak about their love – and need – of the ice here has made my own understanding of climate change shift.

“Megumi is a fearless performer. On the piano, she is a force of nature herself.”

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Tickets at $25 ($15 for students) are available from the NACC website.