The Global Forum at Canadian Music Week is an annual thought leadership event that Music Canada has been programming for more than a decade. It brings together 150 Canadian and international music industry figures, artists, journalists and political decision makers to explore some of the most important topics in the industry, and society at large. The forum also celebrates and recognizes individuals and organizations who are working to improve the music industry, and those using music to make the world a better place. In the past two years, the Global Forum has focused on the power of music for Indigenous peoples in Canada, and highlighted work being done to bring more accountability and inclusivity to the music industry.
2019’s Global Forum, titled The Soundtrack to Democracy: Music’s political and social power, will take place on Thursday, May 9. Across genres, continents, and generations, artists have harnessed the unique power of music to rally imaginations and propel ideas into action. The 2019 forum will explore why the winds of change so often blow from the lips of artists, and how musicians can most effectively create social and political change with their art.
The event will begin with a keynote from musician, author and activist Dave Randall, whose book Sound System: The Political Power of Music is described as “a book of raves, riots and revolution.” In the book, Randall finds political inspiration across the musical spectrum and poses the question: “how can we make music serve the interests of the many, rather than the few?”
Following his keynote, Randall will join two leading musicians from Canada who have used art to drive change – Lorraine Segato of The Parachute Club and ShoShona Kish of Digging Roots – for a panel discussion moderated by Miranda Mulholland. Titled Rise Up: Using creativity to make change (a reference to The Parachute Club’s 80s anthem for equality and shared power) the panel will explore effective strategies artists have used to create and inspire change on issues close to their hearts. In addition to moderating the panel, Muholland will host the event and share opening remarks at the 2019 Global Forum.
Guests at the forum will also participate in table discussions about their own experiences and feelings towards the political power of music, and be treated to a performance by the supremely talented hip-hop group The Sorority.
You can learn more about the speakers at the 2019 Global Forum below.
Dave Randall is a musician, writer and political activist. He has contributed to Grammy Award winning albums by Dido and toured the world playing guitar with Faithless, Sinead O’Connor, Emiliana Torrini and others. He has released his own critically acclaimed albums under the artist names Slovo and Randall, and composed music for screen and stage. His book Sound System: The Political Power of Music is a book of raves, riots and revolution. It looks at examples from Beethoven to Beyoncé and poses the question: how can we make music serve the interests of the many, rather than the few? It has been described as:
“A deeply intelligent look at music and society. Thought provoking, readable and clever” Mark Radcliffe (BBC 2 / 6Music)
“A thrilling trip through the dark corners and secret gardens of the music world” Maxi Jazz (Faithless)
Miranda Mulholland is a Canadian singer-songwriter, musician, label owner, artist advocate, and Founder and Artistic Director of the Sawdust City Music Festival in Muskoka, Ontario. Currently she is a member of Harrow Fair and BelleStarr. Her touring and recording credits include Great Lake Swimmers, Bowfire, The Jim Cuddy Band and many more. She has performed on over 70 albums as well as TV shows and film scores. Not limited to band performances, Miranda has appeared in various theatre productions including the Dora winning productions of ‘Parfumerie’ and ‘SpoonRiver’ with Soulpepper Theatre in Toronto.
Over the past three years, Miranda has emerged as one of the world’s foremost artist advocates, speaking at the World Trade Organization, a NAFTA negotiating round in Washington, Midem, Canadian Music Week, and is the first music creator to take the podium at the Economic Club of Canada.
For the past 37 years Lorraine Segato has powered up an impressive artistic career that has produced some edgy and excellent cultural work. Segato’s extensive experience as a respected songwriter, musician, filmmaker, event producer, artistic director, speechwriter, and social justice activist makes her one of Canada’s respected cultural commentators and iconic recording artists.
As the co-founder and lead singer of The Parachute Club, one of the most critically lauded and commercially successful groups of the eighties, Segato enjoyed an impressive career in the music industry before turning her attention to a large array of diverse creative endeavours. Even before her chart topping hits with The Parachute Club, Segato had already staked a claim as one of the few female artists of the time able to succeed on her own terms.
From her touching performance at Jack Layton’s funeral to her generous mentorship of young artists, Segato’s work, no matter what the medium, remains consistently topical and relevant. Her passion, empathy and charisma have served a career, on stage and in production, that has educated and inspired Canadians for close to four decades.
ShoShona Kish is an Anishinabekwe community organizer, producer, activist, songwriter and JUNO award-winning touring artist. This year ShoShona was recognized for her work internationally with the prestigious “Professional Excellence Award ” from the WOMEX organization “for her role in the ongoing revolution of upheaving Indigenous communities and their culture – using the medium of music as an agent of change, to awaken our humanity and help us connect.”
ShoShona leads the multi-award-winning band Digging Roots, with her husband, Raven Kanatakta. Their music breaches categorization, seamlessly blending global and traditional Indigenous sounds with roots-rock, blues, and trip-hop. They have brought their unique musical marriage of unvarnished truth and unconditional love to venues and festivals around the world.