Maria Dunn to Bring Songs of Work & Sisterhood to Red Deer

RED DEER: One of Alberta's best-known folk singers is coming to Red Deer to present songs about the life of immigrant women workers in one of Alberta's longest standing manufacturing facilities.

Maria Dunn will lead a trio of performers into the Snell Auditorium at the Red Deer Public Library at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, May 12, 2012 as part of a province-wide tour to celebrate the 100th Anniversary of the Alberta Federation of Labour. The tour, which consists of 13 concerts, will wrap up in the Crowsnest Pass during its Doors Open Festival on the August long weekend.

In GWG: Piece by Piece, Maria presents stories about the immigrant women who built a new life around the work they found in Edmonton's Great West Garment plant - a plant which was bought out by Levi Strauss, and moved to Haiti in 2004 after 93 years in Alberta. Many of her songs are based on research conducted by Edmonton historian Catherine C. Cole, through which she depicts the resilience, hope and sisterhood in workplace and Union that brought these women through the challenges and hardships they faced. Appearing with Maria Dunn will be Shannon Johnson (violin, vocal) and Sharmila Mathur (sitar, percussion), both well-known artists in their own right.

This multimedia event will utilize video to introduce as well as situate songs in their historical context, with visual images of the people and the locations in which the stories occurred. In each case, Maria will add her own personal introduction before presenting the song, a combination which will make for an engaging and educational 60-minute presentation.

A Juno-nominated storyteller through song, Maria's lyrics are set to melodies inspired by Celtic and North American folk traditions. The songs she presents in this concert, as well as in "Troublemakers," the other concert on this tour, continues a tradition of labour music which has played an important part in the history of work and workers' organizations. Maria has performed at union and political gatherings, fundraisers and concerts across Alberta and Canada, as well as in other parts of the world. She writes her own material, and has worked with Ground Zero Productions, Shannon Johnson and such writers as Catherine Cole to produce the concerts that will make up the 2012 Centennial Tour. (See Maria's website at

The Red Deer Concert is organized in conjunction with a local union committee that is working with the Red Deer & District Labour Council on plans to commemorate the AFL Centennial by mounting a large stainless steel Labour Disc on the outer wall of the Central Alberta Trades & Labour Society (CATALS) Building in downtown Red Deer. The completed project will be unveiled in a 2012 Dedication Ceremony on Labour Day, September 3, 2012.


For more information or for tickets, call:

Karen Reay, Red Deer & District Labour Council at 403-391-4242 [email protected]

Ken Collier, Red Deer 2012 Centennial Group at 403-342-7989 [email protected]

Kirsti Tamblyn, Ground Zero Productions at 780-420-1400 [email protected]

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