Dynamic Digging Roots wrap up season at Acoustic Stage

MORRISBURG – For their final concert of the season, on Saturday, May 4, the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage brought in performers who literally rocked the building. Digging Roots had the entire audience on its feet singing and dancing by the end of their dynamic show. It was a great ending to a great season.

The evening began with the wondrous, warm and rich music of singer Mike Celia, a ‘man with a guitar.’ Celia, who often sings back up with Digging Roots has embarked on a solo career as well, sharing his thoughtful and oft-times romantic music with the audience. He has recently released an album, and much of his performance on the Playhouse stage focussed on songs from that album.

Mike loves to explore emotions through his music: the joys and challenges of relationships are often themes. “Stay awake… stay with me..” takes one through a breakup. ‘Beside the Fire’ understands that even love cannot hold two people together. “It’s alright if it gives us just a night/I know she’ll go when the wind tells her so..” Mike Celia is not afraid to be vulnerable. And blessed with a warm, even sultry voice, and a strong vocal range, he charmed his listeners. He was joined, for some wonderful harmonies, by talented soprano Ayisha Jarvis.
Together they shared Mike’s stories and his emotions in his rich songs, with their interesting imagery. At one point, Mike simply unplugged the guitar, and stepped into the audience – and just sang. It was memorable, a high point of his performance. So was the bouncing rock n’ roll number he performed near the end of his set: as he put it “a little shake your tail kind of song.” Mike Celia is a true artist, and a singer who is not afraid to share his heart through music. “Sometimes I dream…I just can’t see where I should go./….but I’m going anyway!”

Digging Roots, ShoShona Kish and Raven Kanatakta, simply exploded on to the stage. Backed by Mike, Ayisha, André Blais and drummer Skye Polson, these Juno Award winning performers dazzled the audience. As singers, they hold nothing back. Their onstage energy and dynamism is phenomenal. ShoShona takes the lead on many of their songs, with her rich vocal range, but Raven, whose guitar would appear to be on fire, is an equally gifted singer. Their music has overtones that reflect their Indigenous heritage, and many of their songs explore the trials of the past and hopes for the future.

“She Calls Me”, a rocking number, talks of finding roots, of finding family and a place to call home, even for a short time. “I was born here/It’s where I belong…I’m rooted down/But I can’t stay too long/ ..The wind calls me home…” Raven, ShoShona and the entire band are very animated on stage. Love for what they do, for connecting with an audience, for sharing stories and feelings, is clear in every song. With ShoShona and Raven, body and soul are committed to their music.

Raven addressed the audience, telling of some of the past tragedies that have shaped Indigenous lives. In ‘Don’t Cut My Hair’, he sang “You’re trying to cut my roots/ Let me speak my words without changing them/Don’t send me away.” Yet both he and ShoShona talked of how “music is so powerful to heal. We need to show our love, and recognize the humanity in each other.. Nothing is more powerful than raising our voices together…”

In no time, the audience was on its feet, joining them in choruses, swaying and dancing to the infectious rhythms of their music. And, delightfully, for their encore number they performed an “actual love song,” called ‘Stay.’ “Stay darling, stay/You’re the house I want/ To move my heart into…”

It was a powerful, exciting final concert for the St. Lawrence Acoustic Stage. Mike Celia and Digging Roots created a lot of wonderful musical memories. And as ShoShona said, “We’re thrilled to have spent this time with you all. Take a dream of peace home with you tonight.”

Since you’re here…

… Thanks for reading this article. Local news is important. We hope that you continue to support local news in your community by reading The Leader, online and in print. Please consider subscribing to the print edition of the newspaper. Click here to subscribe today.

Subscribe to Email Alerts

Enter your email address to subscribe to Email Alerts and receive notifications of new posts by email whenever The Leader publishes new content on our website.