NEWS RELEASE · 20th April 2011
Skeena Watershed Coalition
Slide guitarist and songwriter Rachelle van Zanten is about to release a music video of her hit song, My Country. This rock-and-roll anthem sheds a powerful and intimate light on an issue close to van Zanten’s home and heart: the future of BC’s Sacred Headwaters.
The Sacred Headwaters is the shared birthplace of BC’s Skeena, Nass and Stikine Rivers, and the site of a coalbed methane gas development proposed by Shell. The new video highlights the region’s wild landscape and social struggle that has put the Sacred Headwaters in the international media spotlight.
“From the moment I saw the photo of Shell employees facing off against the Tahltan elders, women and children trying to protect the Sacred Headwaters, I felt a burning desire to write about it,” said van Zanten, “This new video aims for the heart of the issue – the fact that there is much more at stake than just a special place.”
“Northern BC’s culture and communities are being put at risk by controversial industrial proposals like Shell’s coalbed methane despite unanimous regional opposition. There’s only so much these rivers will take before people are left without the wild salmon and clean water that we depend on.”
Smithers-based videographer Taylor Fox created van Zanten’s latest video and spent six years capturing footage of the Sacred Headwaters story alongside filmmaker Monty Bassett. In 2005, Fox and Bassett filmed the arrest of 15 Tahltan elders after they blockaded Fortune Minerals, a mining company planning to build an open-pit coalmine in the Sacred Headwaters.
“The archival footage of the arrests worked seamlessly with Rachelle’s lyrics and her live performance at the Sacred Headwaters Music Fest in Iskut,” said Fox. “It all came together in such a powerful way.”
“Much of our work focuses on celebrating life in the north with little mention of the underlying issues that threaten the unique social fabric that keeps people in the north connected,” said Shannon McPhail, executive director of the Skeena Watershed Conservation Coalition. “This video scratches the surface to reveal the dirtier side of what happens when multinational companies meet community resistance in northwest BC. It’s a powerfully emotional representation of what happened.”
“The My Country music video is a tribute to all the people around the world standing up for their watersheds,” said van Zanten.
Born and raised in northwest B.C., van Zanten has performed with Feist, Blue Rodeo, Clarence Gatemouth Brown, and Sue Foley. Her latest tour schedule took her through Canada, the United Kingdom, Germany, Holland, Belgium, France, Sweden, Norway, Denmark, India and Nepal.
Van Zanten’s video release tour, which also features Hazelton youth bands The Racket and Blind Vinyl, will be appearing in the following communities:
· Hazelton, April 26, Hazelton Secondary School, 1pm
· Kispiox, April 27, Kispiox Valley Hall, 7pm
· Terrace, April 28, Kiva Sports Lounge, 7pm
· Prince Rupert, April 29,Tom Rooney Theatre, 7pm
· Smithers, April 30, Dze L'Kant Friendship Centre, 7pm
A sneak preview video clip of an advance showing is attached below.