Buffy Sainte-Marie The authorized biography

Andrea Warner

Book - 2018

"A powerful, intimate look at the life and music of a beloved folk icon and activist. Folk hero. Songwriter icon. Living legend. Buffy Sainte-Marie is all of these things and more. In this, Sainte-Marie's first and only authorized biography, music critic Andrea Warner draws from more than sixty hours of exclusive interviews to offer a powerful, intimate look at the life of the beloved artist and everything that she has accomplished in her seventy-seven years (and counting). Since her g...roundbreaking debut, 1964's It's My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate for Indigenous rights and freedoms, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Establishing herself among the ranks of folk greats such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, she has released more than twenty albums, survived being blacklisted by two U.S. presidents, and received countless accolades, including the only Academy Award ever to be won by a First Nations artist. But this biography does more than celebrate Sainte-Marie's unparalleled talent as a songwriter and entertainer; packed with insight and knowledge, it offers an unflinchingly honest, heartbreakingly real portrait of the woman herself, including the challenges she experienced on the periphery of showbiz, her healing from the trauma of childhood and intimate partner violence, her commitment to activism, and her leadership in the protest movement."--

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Subjects
Genres
Biographies
Published
Vancouver ; Berkeley : Greystone Books [2018]
Language
English
Physical Description
298 pages, 16 unnumbered pages of plates : illustrations (some color) ; 24 cm
Bibliography
Includes bibliographical references, discography, and index.
ISBN
9781771643580
1771643587
Main Author
Andrea Warner (author)
Other Authors
Joni Mitchell (writer of foreword)
Review by Booklist Reviews

Her voice could stretch "from wilderness to solar system and back again." Her songwriting spanned genres as diverse as folk and funk. An innovator and experimenter in music as well as education, especially in the realm of indigenous culture, Sainte-Marie projected a singular vision across multiple platforms. To say that Sainte-Marie could not be categorized would be an understatement, yet her enduring legacy is one of an activist, indigenous folk singer whose relevance peaked early. But that is an oversimplification. Born into Saskatchewan's Cree tribe yet adopted out to a white family from Massachusetts, Sainte-Marie found that the dichotomy of her heritage was both boon and blessing. While she constantly sought to explore and honor her birthright, she also illuminated and exposed the hypocrisies and restrictive hierarchies of the white world in which she lived and worked. Warner (We Oughta Know, 2015) is a dexterous chronicler of Canada's music scene, and her biography of this soaring icon powerfully reveals Sainte-Marie's cultural advocacy while shining a much-needed light on her essential humanity, life experiences, and prodigious musical talent. Copyright 2018 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Library Journal Reviews

Warner (We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the '90s and Changed Canadian Music) draws on 60 hours of exclusive interviews to explore the extensive achievements of Buffy Sainte-Marie (b. 1941)—as songwriter, performer, recording artist, educator, and activist. Early on, Sainte-Marie's natural musical talents and strong interest in her Cree heritage inspired her to compose songs of deep emotional eloquence that focused on the struggles for freedom and equality faced by all Indigenous peoples. She emphasized that her compositions were not an expression of anger but rather to educate listeners about the inequities encountered by Native Americans and the need to raise cultural awareness. Warner astutely describes Sainte-Marie's career, from her acclaimed performances and numerous recordings (beginning with the 1964 album It's My Way!) to her creation of highly successful educational programs and her groundbreaking work on Sesame Street. Behind-the-scenes details about Sainte-Marie's personal life are honestly and skillfully interwoven with those of her professional journey—the suffering and the joys. VERDICT For folk music enthusiasts as well as readers and institutions with a strong interest in educational awareness and activism on behalf of Indigenous peoples.—Carol J. Binkowski, Bloomfield, NJ Copyright 2018 Library Journal.

Review by PW Annex Reviews

Warner (We Oughta Know: How Four Women Ruled the 90s and Changed Canadian Music) presents a broad overview of the career of Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Cree singer, activist, educator, and actor who was born in Saskatchewan in 1941. Sainte-Marie is known for her earnest pop songs from the 1960s through the '90s ( among them "Universal Soldier" and "Until It's Time for You to Go"), indigenous anthems ("Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee"), and her years as a performer on Sesame Street in the 1970s. Quoting extensively from interviews with Sainte-Marie, Warner writes honestly about the racism Sainte-Marie experienced growing up; her opioid addiction in the 1960s; and her claims of being blacklisted, along with other indigenous people, by American radio stations in the 1970s. She documents Sainte-Marie's music collaborations (she recently recorded with Canadian throat singer Tanya Tagaq); her Native American school curriculum, the Cradleboard Teaching Project, which helps raise self-esteem; and her receiving an Academy Award for best original song ("Up Where We Belong," performed by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes). While Sainte-Marie's voice shines through—funny, sharply incisive, never bitter—some sections feel clunky due to an overreliance on direct quotes from lengthy, unedited interview transcripts. The book feels overlong, but it's nevertheless a heartfelt portrait. (Sept.) Copyright 2018 Publishers Weekly Annex.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"Buffy Sainte-Marie is an icon and inspiration. This book is necessary'an authorized insight into the making of a legend." 'terese Marie Mailhot, author of Heart BerriesA powerful, intimate look at the life of a beloved folk icon and activist.Folk hero. Songwriter icon. Living legend. Buffy Sainte-Marie is all of these things and more. In this, Sainte-Marie's first and only authorized biography, music critic Andrea Warner draws from more than sixty hours of exclusive interviews to offer a powerful, intimate look at the life of the beloved artist and everything that she has accomplished in her seventy-seven years (and counting).Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964's It's My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate for Indigenous rights and freedoms, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Establishing herself among the ranks of folk greats such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, she has released more than twenty albums, survived being blacklisted by two U.S. presidents, and received countless accolades, including the only Academy Award ever to be won by a First Nations artist. But this biography does more than celebrate Sainte-Marie's unparalleled talent as a songwriter and entertainer; packed with insight and knowledge, it offers an unflinchingly honest, heartbreakingly real portrait of the woman herself, including the challenges she experienced on the periphery of showbiz, her healing from the trauma of childhood and intimate partner violence, her commitment to activism, and her leadership in the protest movement.

Review by Publisher Summary 2

"Buffy Sainte-Marie is an icon and inspiration. This book is necessary—an authorized insight into the making of a legend." —Terese Marie Mailhot, author of Heart BerriesA powerful, intimate look at the life of a beloved folk icon and activist.Folk hero. Songwriter icon. Living legend. Buffy Sainte-Marie is all of these things and more. In this, Sainte-Marie’s first and only authorized biography, music critic Andrea Warner draws from more than sixty hours of exclusive interviews to offer a powerful, intimate look at the life of the beloved artist and everything that she has accomplished in her seventy-seven years (and counting).Since her groundbreaking debut, 1964’s It’s My Way!, the Cree singer-songwriter has been a trailblazer and a tireless advocate for Indigenous rights and freedoms, an innovative artist, and a disruptor of the status quo. Establishing herself among the ranks of folk greats such as Joni Mitchell and Bob Dylan, she has released more than twenty albums, survived being blacklisted by two U.S. presidents, and received countless accolades, including the only Academy Award ever to be won by a First Nations artist. But this biography does more than celebrate Sainte-Marie’s unparalleled talent as a songwriter and entertainer; packed with insight and knowledge, it offers an unflinchingly honest, heartbreakingly real portrait of the woman herself, including the challenges she experienced on the periphery of showbiz, her healing from the trauma of childhood and intimate partner violence, her commitment to activism, and her leadership in the protest movement.