2016 Instrumental Album Juno Nominee Cris Derksen is an Aboriginal cellist/composer known for building layers of sound into captivating performances. Her music braids the traditional and contemporary in multiple dimensions, weaving her traditional classical training and her aboriginal ancestry with new school electronics, creating genre defying music.
Cris released her sophomore solo album in May 2013. On “The Collapse” she delves further into electronic cello pieces while staying true to her cinematic flair. The Collapse is an album motivated by personal relationships and the environmental concerns that Canadians face as the dependency of energy changes the face of Canada and the world. The 13 track album features Derksen’s own compositions with Joy on Drums and guest artist Kinnie Starr.
Derksen’s 2010 debut album “The Cusp” was nominated for a Western Canadian Music Award, and won the 2011 Canadian Aboriginal Music Award for Instrumental Album of the Year. She was honoured with funding from First Tracks, to make POW WOW WOW, an APTN Music Video, released in early 2012.
Cris has recently finished recording the “Orchestral Powwow Project”, to be released in the summer of 2015. Originally conceived by Derksen and Robert Todd of the Tribal Spirit Powwow label, the project responds to a perceived need to truly incorporate Aboriginal artists in art that claims Aboriginal credit. After an exploration with Robert of ideas around what defines Orchestral Powwow, Cris spent a year composing and transcribing using Tribal Spirit’s library of powwow albums. Players on the recording, and upcoming live performances, comprise Cris on cello, the 11-piece Chippewa Travelers powwow group, Jennifer Kriesberg on vocals, and a 9-piece symphonic ensemble.
Cris’ recent composer credits include 8th Fire (4-part television mini-series – CBC – 2012); TransMigration (Kahawi Dance, 2012); People of a Feather (feature film – Joel Heath and the Community of Sanikiluaq – 2011)
Cris has toured nationally and internationally as a solo artist and performing her own compositions with Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq. She has performed internationally at: Women in (e)motion (Germany), Future En Seine (France), WOMEX (Spain), SXSW (Texas), Riddu Riddu (Norway), Respect Festival, Colors of Ostrava (Czech Republic), Barroquisimo (Mexico), MADE festival (Sweden).
Nationally, Derksen has performed at: Vancouver Island Music Fest, Regina Folk Festival, Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards, Frostbite Festival, Salmon Arm Roots and Blues, Harrison Music Festival, Rifflandia, Dawson City Music Festival, Edmonton Folk Music Festival, Calgary Folk Music Festival, Vancouver Folk Music Festival, JunoFest, the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and the 2010 Cultural Olympiad.
Cris Derksen originally comes from Northern Alberta. There is a line of chiefs from North Tall Cree reserve on her father’s side and a line of strong Mennonite homesteaders on her mother’s side.
Cris obtained a Bachelor of Music in Cello Performance at the University of British Columbia and shared the title of Principal Cellist with the UBC Symphony Orchestra. In 2009 she was recognized by the Aboriginal Peoples Television Network as one of its rising stars and The Georgia Straight’s “Who to Watch”. She was also Curator in Residence at the Vancouver East Cultural Centre.