Tar Sands Songbook Returns This Month

Tar Sands Songbook will be in performance in St. Albert on Monday, November 20, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.

By: Nov. 08, 2023
Tar Sands Songbook Returns This Month

In a world premiere Canadian theatrical event our invisible relationship to oil is showcased through an engaging and compelling one-person show. Tanya Kalmanovitch’s Tar Sands Songbook is a new performance piece weaving storytelling, photography, improvised music, and recordings into a raw yet tender, hard-hitting yet affectionate, honest yet moving 80-minute presentation.

Tar Sands Songbook will be in performance in St. Albert on Monday, November 20, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m. and media are invited to attend to experience Tanya’s unique approach to a topic important to all Canadians. Originally from Fort McMurray, and embedded in oil culture through family and community, Tanya delivers a first-hand account that joins her experiences together with voices of First Nation elders, oil workers, environmental activists, and family.  

"...those in attendance for Tanya Kalmanovitch's Tar Sands Songbook were witness to something amazing. With so much polarizing rhetoric orbiting the topics of climate, energy, and Tar Sands, it is refreshing to hear a true love song on the topic. It is layered, textured, and imbued with humanity, as a topic that has become for most a political lever, is examined as a complex part of so many lives that are living within it. If you have any opportunity to see this performance, I urge you to do so. It will enrich your perspective immeasurably." 
-Scott Meller

“The idea for Tar Sands Songbook was born in 2015 when Fort McMurray rose to international infamy as the source of ‘dirty oil’ to be carried through the proposed Keystone XL pipeline,” says Tanya. “In the Tar Sands protest movement, Fort McMurray became the symbol of everything wrong with our addiction to oil. While some dubbed it ‘Canada’s shameful secret,’  to me Fort McMurray has always been something else, too—my home. 

“I am a child of oil country. My father, uncles, and cousins worked in the oil sands: oil paved our way into the middle class. But my Ukrainian grandmother, mother and aunts taught me a different order of survival. Raised on a subsistence farm in central Manitoba, they taught me to honour the land because it was the difference between starving and staying alive.” 

Tanya’s ability to relate across radically different worlds is, in her own words, “an authentic power.” Tar Sands Songbook provides the opportunity for diverse audiences to be transported into a deeper relationship with landscape and culture—and what it will take for us to navigate a challenging future. Her performance and presentation bring people from all sides of a political debate together for a shared experience and authentic conversation.

Tanya Kalmanovitch is a Canadian musician, scholar, and author known for her breadth of critical inquiry and spirited engagement with the central issues of our time. Trained at the Juilliard School, her research and creative projects explore the complex ways that music is shaped by, and helps to shape, history and society. Tanya has been named to the Grist 50 Fixers,  is an artist-in-residence with the Climate Action Network Canada, a Public Voices Fellow of the Yale Program on Climate Change Communications, and a co-founder and Mission Circle Lead of SCALE/LeSAUT, a network mobilizing the Canadian arts and culture sector in the climate emergency. She is co-Principal Investigator of the Future Arts Initiative at New York University, an Associate Professor at The New School in New York City and has also taught for over a decade at the New England Conservatory in Boston. Born in Fort McMurray, Alberta, she now lives in Brooklyn, New York. 

Tar Sands Songbook is written, performed, composed, and produced by Tanya Kalmanovitch; Dramaturgy by Katie Pearl, with additional dramaturgy by Vicki Stroich; Associate Produced by Louise Casemore; Additional Production by Katie Pawluk; Artistic Consultation by Glynis Rigsby; Piano and Music Direction by Andrew Boudreau; Traditional Knowledge Consultation by Cleo Reece & Sheldon Hughes, A/V Programming by Anton De Groot.

Tar Sands Songbook performances are offered free-of-charge to communities along the Trans Mountain Pipeline route in an effort to foster and develop conversation and connection. Visit their website tarsandssongbook.com for more information.