Native Gumbo
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Native Gumbo


Band Jazz World


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Native Gumbo self titled CD released September 2010 was nominated for Music PEI 'Best Jazz Recording' and ECMA 'World Recording of the Year'. The tracks are:

1. The Honour Song
2. Mawiomi
3. Traveler's Song
4. Days of Wine and Roses
5. Doin' the Dishes
6. Snake Dance
7. LP Kickin'
8. Veteran's Honour Song
9. Crow Hop
10. Egonday



The concept of putting Aboriginal dancers and drummers on stage with jazz musicians at a jazz festival was born sometime in June of 2009. That idea became a reality on Saturday, September 26 in the main tent of the 2009 PEI Jazz and Blues Festival. At 2:30 that afternoon Mi’kmaq Thunder, a group consisting of 14 Aboriginal Drummers on 2 floor drums and 4 dancers in full regalia were joined on stage by bassist Skip Beckwith, Drummer Gerry Granelli and Danny Oore on saxes to become Native Gumbo. What happened next was an incredible musical and spiritual journey. Six songs and an hour later, 500 people were standing, clapping and hollering for more. The concert (which we think was a world wide first) was a great success as Native Gumbo received 4 standing ovations.

About Native Gumbo’s performance Festival co-chair Doug Millington summed it up by saying “The 2009 TD Canada Trust PEI Jazz and Blues Festival was pleased to present a Canadian first... possibly a world first...a collaboration between native singers/dancers and … jazz musicians. Audience reaction to this initiative was overwhelmingly positive. The two musical streams joined together as naturally as merging tributaries and the visual effect of the dancers and singers in traditional garb on stage with attendant jazz sidemen on saxophone, double bass and drum-set provided for arresting imagery. A powerful performance…this is clearly a combination worthy of further exploration.”

As Skip, Gerry and Danny live in Nova Scotia, logistically it made sense to find local musicians to team up with Mi’kmaq Thunder to create a new Native Gumbo. In December of 2010 the Alan Dowling Quartet consisting of Alan on drums, Wayne Dunsford on bass, Glen Strickey on saxophones and Ian Toms on guitar were brought aboard to be the ‘jazz’ component of the group. While the line-up has changed members agree that the current group is stronger as all of the musicians now live on PEI which provides more opportunity for musical collaboration and interaction.

Since then Native Gumbo has played a number of concerts on PEI including Music PEI’s Music Mosiac, a Haiti fundraising concert at the Guild in Charlottetown and Summerfest on July 1st in Confederation Landing Park. The concert at the Guild was recorded and a CD was released in September of 2010. The CD was nominated in the "World Recording of the Year" category by the East Coast Music Awards (ECMAS) and "Best Jazz Recording" for a Music PEI Award. The core members of Native Gumbo are:

Dan Knockwood – Drum keeper

Dan is a member of Lennox Island First Nation and has been involved with the Mi’kmaq culture since 1985. He was one of the founding members of the Birch Creek drum out of Big Cove, NB from 1985 to 1991. In 1993 he started a new drum in Abegweit First Nation in Scotchfort and is still a member of this drum, the Red Stone Singers. He has traveled to different Aboriginal gatherings (Pow-Wows) through out the Maritimes, Ontario and the north east US with the Birch Creek Singers, Red Stone Singers and Mi'kmaq Thunder. He has performed in many grand openings through out the Maritimes including the opening ceremonies for the Confederation Bridge. Dan has been a keeper of the Mi’kmaq culture for many years and makes both hand drums and ceremonial drums.

Dan also formed the drum Mi’kmaq Thunder which consists of 10 to 14 drummers on 2 drums. Mi’kmaq Thunder was joined by jazz musicians to become Native Gumbo who played the PEI Jazz and Blues Festival in 2009. This was quite possibly the first time that this combination of musicians has played a Jazz Festival anywhere in the world.

The other members of Mi’kmaq Thunder are:

Anthony Bear, Jonathon Bernard, Nick Cheverie, Charles Joseph Cleal, Joshua Joseph, Robert Lloyd Joseph, Parker Larkin, Dresmond Lewis, Ian Moher, Gilbert Alex Sark, George Snatche and Kevin Walker.

Cory Googoo - Musical Director

Cory Googoo is a 24 year old Mi’kmaq from Wagmatcook First Nation, Cape Breton. Cory began to drum when he was a child at the age of 11 with Indian Bay Singers whom he continues to drum with today and is one of their lead singers. He has performed throughout the Maritimes at cultural events such as Pow Wows and gatherings as well as showcases at Center 2000 in Sydney, Nova Scotia, Charlottetown, and Toronto.

In the summer of 2002 Cory branched out to another drum group based out of Nova Scotia which was called East Boyz singers. This group was made up of young men from across the Maritimes. They would go on to perform at the Six Nations competition Pow Wow where they placed in the top five from across Canada.

Upon moving to PEI Cory helped to recruit and teach the Eagle Island Singers based out of the Native Council where he became one of the lead singers and the drum keeper. In 2009 he joined Mi’kmaq Thunder as one of the lead singers. Due to his natural feel for Jazz, Cory took on the role of the drummers’ Musical Director when they play as Nati