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Leslie-Anne Carbonneau has been involved in Cisco Systems Bluesfest for years - 2004 was her fourth- working as a volunteer in the pageantry department. On the other hand, the Blues is one of her passions. She has a few. Up to this date, Leslie had been trying to have a say in the concept of at least one of the stages of that event, but the decision was controlled by this one and only individual who - very unfortunately - happened to be one of this dubious breed of what she called "close friend" of hers. In order to impress this person and get away with her plans, Leslie needed an artist. That's how I entered as part of the "equation". So, one day around the beginning of Spring, she told me she would love to work with native imagery on one of the stages, and would I like to help her out? I loved the idea and began to formulate stage sets and tried to figure out how to blend the native subject into a musical frame.

When I was five, I watched this 1946 cartoon from George Pal's "PUPPETOON"
Productions called "Jasper In A Jam" ( I must say my life used to turn pretty much 
around cartoons at the time...) in which every objects at a pawn shop came to life
in a Jazz frenzy. The performers included animal heads on the wall, musical
instruments playing by themselves and a wooden cigar Indian among others.
The central spot in this musical pandemonium was a dancing brass playing totem 

At my age, I didn't have any idea about totem poles whatsoever. It wasn't part of my
culture. And I was just fascinated.  And I never forgot the first time I saw it and I never

The George Pal's "Jasper" series to me means my first Music appreciation lesson 
ever, and  therefore to me music - specially Jazz- and totem poles will be psychologically associated forever.

When Leslie said her dream was creating "something with native motifs", I told her about all this cartoon thing and how would be like making a stage with totem poles with native and musical motifs mixed together...She just loved it and started to visualize a whole world of totem poles, dream catchers, and all this beautiful imagery painted on wood. She was focusing on the Haida elements from the West Coast native cultures and...we set to work on it.



(Click on any thumbnail to enlarge the image)

Original idea   Stage specs   Inspiration   

Sketches for the stage columns   Final project   

Bella Coola

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