Tag Archives: Ecstacy of Rita Joe

Ann Mortifee: Coming Home To Cortes Island

Conclusion of a 4 part series.

Hollyhock brought Ann Mortifee to Cortes Island. She was one of Vancouver’s leading singers, but had no previous teaching experience when they invited her to do a workshop. That was 40 years ago. 

“Martha Abelson convinced me to give it a go. I remember the first workshop I did. I went into a wild panic because I’m not a teacher, I’m a singer. I went to the library to find out how I could teach,” she explained.  “At the end of the first session in the morning, I told  Shivon Robinsong (a co-founder and Director of Hollyhock), ‘I can’t do this. I’ve used everything that I was going to use in the five days in the first morning. I have no idea what I’m doing for the rest of the week. I have to give them the option to leave. I’ll pay for everything that Hollyhock would lose.'”

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Ann Mortifee part 2: A 3 year pilgrimage & return

(The second in a series of interviews with Ann Mortifee) 

Ann Mortifee seemed to be on the verge of a breakthrough few artists even dream of, when she left the music industry in 1975. EMI Records had just produced her second album and set up a world tour. 

Yet Ann’s inner voice clearly stated, “if you go down this path, you will not fulfill your destiny.”

She resisted at first, but finally told her music director, “I’m leaving music, and I’m going on a pilgrimage.”

Continue reading Ann Mortifee part 2: A 3 year pilgrimage & return

Ann Mortifee: ‘Dreaming I am Ann’

(The first of a series of interviews with Ann Mortifee) 

Ann Mortifee is probably the most famous musician on Cortes Island, which is more of a compliment than it sounds like because there are a lot of talented musicians on Cortes. However from the start of our interview, it was apparent this story was about a lot more than singing. I had this bizarre feeling to lead with the question, ‘When did you start becoming Ann Mortifee?’ 

Her answer came out of the memories of a 4-years-old girl.

AM:  “It happened maybe a hundred times in my childhood. I had the same dream. I’d be standing somewhere looking into a bedroom and there’d be someone lying in the bed. I’d go, ‘Oh no, I’m starting to dream of her again.’ Then I would get this anxious feeling, ‘I’m going to get stuck there in the dream and I’m going to believe it’s real.’ This dream gets more and more upsetting to me. I can feel myself starting to fall asleep and that I’m in a dream.” 

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Denise Wolda (Part 1 of 2): From Farmer’s daughter to Professional Musician

If Cortes Island had an anthem, it would very likely be the chorus of ‘Feel the Island.’ The songwriter, Denise Reinhardt Larson, was a professional musician for twenty years prior to her marriage to Ron Wolda. Her story goes back through the Folk Revolution to rural Saskatchewan.

“ My maiden name is Reinhardt. I’m from a grain farm in southwestern Saskatchewan. It’s about 21 miles south of Etonia, and just about a mile and a half up from the South Saskatchewan River, with lovely hills running from the river up to the edge of the farm. It’s a beautiful spot, and I’m the last one of the family to still own land there. I have two quarters. That feels odd, and it feels quite lovely at the same time,” she explained.

“ We had halls in our small towns, just like we have our Gorge Hall and Manson’s Hall on Cortes. That’s where I got my beginning.”

Continue reading Denise Wolda (Part 1 of 2): From Farmer’s daughter to Professional Musician