David Laronde at C.C’s Bar and Grill

David Laronde at C.C’s Bar and Grill

MAY 2 – On a cool spring evening on the Danforth, patrons of the Indigenous-owned and operated C.C.’s Bar & Grill enjoyed the music of fellow Indigenous folk guitarist and vocalist David Laronde. With only a handful of open seats and a busy bar, Laronde played a melange of “hippie” rock/folk classics and his originals, trading personal anecdotes and sharing stories about the songs with the audience. Speaking between sets, Laronde sat down with Blast Toronto to chat about himself and his music.

“I like to write songs that stand the test of time, that’ll be around for 50 years,” waxes Laronde, having released two albums, covering topics and themes ranging from youth mental health to the over-incarceration of indigenous people. Laronde’s musical career was not direct – he went to Vancouver at 23 to be a musician, but “didn’t…see how you can get into the industry,” and set his efforts to studying geology. “I took a geologist job with the intention to go back to music whenever I could, but that didn’t happen for 30 years.” 

Now for the last five, he’s been a full-time musician. He’s recorded two albums – 2015’s “Under the Raven’s Wing”, and 2021’s “I Know I Can Fly, an album about “empowering listeners to find their own personal and spiritual freedom in a fast-changing world,” per the description on the album’s Bandcamp. He started as a bluegrass musician, playing the violin for a while. Finding the genre too restrictive, he branched out into blues, rock, and folk, while drawing upon his indigenous background and experiences in telling his stories.

“I’m doing a thing called ancestral beat music,” he explains. “It’s a theme that I have for making people aware of being in tune with the land and listening to your ancestors.” His people, the Teme-Augama Anishnabai, have lived in what is commonly called Northern Ontario for over 5,000 years, a legacy reflected by the themes of his music. “[Its] these old stories about clean living and how we lived before,” says Laronde. “There’s [the] ‘Seven Grandfather’ teachings that teach you how to live, like the 10 commandments.” This oral tradition, which has been passed through elders in Anishinaabe communities for centuries, continues through Laronde’s music. 

Audience members also shared their thoughts about the show. Taras Petryk, who mastered “I Know I Can Fly,” was present in the audience. “There’s something really human about his music,” he commented. Nancy Nightingale, originally from northern Ontario and who knows Laronde and his family, always makes an effort to see him when he’s in Toronto. The music is “really peaceful,” Nightingale said. “I love it.”

Here are some images of David Laronde:

Learn more about David at his website, https://www.davidlarondemusic.com/, and his music is available for digital purchase on his Bandcamp, https://davidlaronde1.bandcamp.com/. Both albums – “Under the Raven’s Wings” and “I Know I Can Fly” are also available on digital streaming platforms like Spotify and Apple Music. His 2013 award-nominated EP “Right City, Wrong Town” is available on Apple Music. 

See Also:

Leave a reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.