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Amanda Rheaume (1)
Amanda Rheaume played the NAC Fourth Stage on
May 5, 2016 to launch her new album Holding Patterns.

On May 5, 2016, Métis Nation of Ontario (MNO) citizen Amanda Rheaume revealed a more personal side while playing at the National Arts Centre Fourth Stage sold-out show in Ottawa to launch her new album Holding Patterns.

The Ottawa-born, Métis songstress and Aboriginal Juno nominee is letting the whole world in on her life—her many struggles of growing up, her toxic relationships and her anger surrounding the staggering numbers of missing and murdered indigenous woman in our country. In a sense, you could say that Holding Patterns is her raison d’être.

“It’s definitely a new feeling to be so open and vulnerable about what I’ve been going through, but I think it’s really important, because we are all human,” says Rheaume. “Circumstances are different, but feelings are the same. We can relate to each other even just by different circumstances.”

The concert was very interactive as concert-goers were able to pose questions to the Métis songstress. The concert felt very intimate as Rheaume showed a more personal side while explaining the meaning behind every song and her thoughts when writing them.

The entire album is a personal embrace for Rheaume, coming to terms with her family history, grief, loss love. Patterns is somewhat of a storybook—tales of struggle from her grandfather, the late Métis member of Parliament Eugene Rheaume, and their plight to find acceptance in Northern Manitoba; stories of grief dealing with the death of close friend and collaborator Fraser Holmes; and, the end of a troubled relationship—doomed from its beginning.

The album gets really heavy on Red Dress, in which she teamed up with Chantal Kreviazuk to make a statement about victim-blaming among missing and murdered indigenous women. The powerful song hits home, especially with Rheaume’s smoky voice singing, “I am a woman with no worth.”

“After these women are either murdered or taken or sexually assaulted, there is still a large number of opinions that say, ‘they shouldn’t have been where they were or they could have made a decision to not be in that situation,’” states Rheaume. “When you hear a woman’s voice saying, ‘I’m so sorry, I’m not worthy,’ for me, I felt that was the most effective way to get my feeling out about it.”

The song is a fundraiser for the Native Women’s Association of Canada’s Safety and Violence Prevention Program and takes on heavy issues like intergenerational trauma and addiction. To buy the song Red Dress and support this great cause, please visit iTunes. Click here to learn more about this song.

For Rheaume, the song is about starting a conversation and empowering listeners to make a difference, one by one. “There is not one thing that people can do to help. It’s about doing one thing at a time and helping who we can,” she says. “I think people feel like they can’t make a difference because they are just one person, but the truth is we can all make a difference, we just need to try. You can’t really get to healing until things start getting talked about.”

Rheaume’s breathtaking performance left the audience wanting more as everyone rose to their feet in a standing ovation. If you missed Rheaume’s performance in Ottawa, be sure to check out one of the several concerts she has scheduled in the coming months including a performance at RBC Ottawa Bluesfest in July.

Published on: May 17, 2016