A Manitoba music icon has passed away.
Vince Fontaine, a Juno-winning member of bands like Indian City and Eagle & Hawk, was a familiar face on the music scene, both for his own musical prowess and for his decades-long focus on supporting and advancement of indigenous artists.
Fontaine’s death on Tuesday at the age of 60 had repercussions across the province, with fellow musicians, public figures, politicians and many others remembering his legacy.
“It is such a tragic loss, as he was a musical beacon and cultural ambassador for First Nations in North America and around the world,” said Arlen Dumas, Grand Chief of the Assembly of Manitoba Chiefs (AMC ).
“Not only did he give from his heart in the songs he wrote, but he did so by supporting so many community events and causes.
“He never said no when it came to helping Indigenous people, but he did it quietly.
“His passion for the music industry was propelled by his belief in sharing the beauty and importance of First Nations culture. Every aspect of his art, creativity and community advocacy has connected people. When you saw this hat, everyone’s face lit up. I am so sorry that he left this earth. He will be greatly missed. “
A member of the Sagkeeng First Nation, Fontaine and his band Eagle & Hawk won a Juno for Best Aboriginal Recording Music in Canada in 2002 for their album. Again and again. This award was just one of many, as the guitarist and songwriter’s projects have been honored by the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, Native American Music Awards and many more.
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Manitoba MPP and Fontaine’s niece Nahanni Fontaine took to social media on Tuesday to share the news of her passing.
“Vince’s love for music has only been eclipsed by his unmeasured devotion to his family, friends and community – we who remain stunned and devastated by this great and unexpected loss,” she said. declared.
The Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra also remembered the prolific musician in a note to subscribers.
“Our collective hearts are broken at the news of the passing of Vince Fontaine, founder of JUNO Award-winning band Eagle & Hawk,” they said. “Mr. Fontaine has worked extensively with the WSO, particularly during the running of the annual WSO Indigenous Music Festival (2009-2011) with then Music Director Alexander Mickelthwaite.
“Mr. Fontaine was the director of the festival and an instrumental part of the intent and significance of the event. Our condolences go out to Mr. Fontaine’s family and friends.
“This is a tragic loss for Manitoba’s Aboriginal community and the Manitoba music community in general.
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