Friday, 23 July 2010

Buffy Sainte-Marie at the Sage, Gateshead

By Terry Kelly
03 February 2010

BUFFY Sainte-Marie is a living embodiment of the power of song.
Now in her late 60s, the Canadian-born singer and songwriter performs with all the energy and commitment of someone half her age.

Bounding about the stage as though it was her first gig, it's easy to forget that Sainte-Marie has been part of the fabric of folk music for more than 40 years.

Born on a Cree reservation, her music is infused with the culture of native Indians, including her famous soundtrack song, Soldier Blue.

Backed by a sharp, three-piece band, she trawled her extensive back catalogue of hits, much-covered songs and album tracks.

The appreciative audience were treated to a beautiful version of Up Where We Belong, which gave Sainte-Marie an international platform as a writer when it was a huge hit for Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes.

Another popular music standard was Until It's Time for You to Go, which has been covered by numerous top artists, including Elvis Presley.

A multi-instrumentalist, Sainte-Marie also performed the old folk standard Cripple Creek, on a mouth bow.

The Canadian-born songstress moved easily between guitar and keyboards, revealing her musical versatility.

But her passions extend beyond music, with Sainte-Marie's songs reflecting her deep concern for the natural environment.

Strapping on her acoustic guitar for her protest standard, The Universal Soldier – made popular in the UK by Donovan in the 60s – she also demonstrated her pacifist instincts.

The audience rose to their feet at the end of the concert to applaud a performer who simply improves with age.

1 comment:

  1. OMG! I saw her live back in college. Could it really be that long ago? Nah.