Music Workshop for positive queer identities


written by the Vancouver Festival 2008

To call Faith Nolan a folk singer doesn’t come close to doing her justice. She has been an out Dyke for forty years + released 14 Cd's to date Presently is the founder and director of three different choirs in Toronto, Singing Elementary Teachers of Toronto; CUPE Freedom Singers , the Women of Central East Correctional Centre; Sistering Singers. produced a film, Within These Cages, about women in prison; and continues to fight for a better understanding of how poverty has created a disproportionate representation of poor women, especially black and First Nations, in Canadian prisons. And still this list just scratches the surface of her many accomplishments.

Her passion for uncovering the injustice of our justice system stems from her own childhood. Born in Halifax, Nova Scotia, she is of African, Miq Maq, and Irish heritage, and grew up in the working-class neighbourhood of Regent Park in Toronto. To try and make ends meet, Nolan’s mother was a bootlegger and operated a gambling parlour out of their home. “I grew up with people going to jail all the time. The police were always busting into our house and taking her or somebody off to jail.” Self-taught, her music has been described as a mix of blues, folk and jazz, with a taste of funk and reggae. You can find your toes tapping and body swaying to one of her songs and suddenly realize you’re dancing to a song about a murder or racism. Is it any wonder that a self-proclaimed queer, African-Canadian, working-class woman has chosen to use her gift to try to bring about social change for a fairer and better world?