Buffy Sainte-Marie in Chilliwack March 4

Mission Folk Music Festival presents the ever-popular Buffy Sainte-Marie at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on March 4.

Buffy Sainte-Marie is performing at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Sunday

Buffy Sainte-Marie is performing at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on Sunday

She’s audacious, creative and spellbinding.

Mission Folk Music Festival presents the ever-sought after Buffy Sainte-Marie at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre on March 4.

It’s a special concert to honour Mission Folk Festival’s quarter-century anniversary this year.

“Every year we try to acknowledge and pay respect to those who broke ground over the years and made significant contributions with their music,” said organizer Francis Xavier-Edwards.

Sainte-Marie has been a ground-breaking creative force for decades, crafting songs that have become anthems for peace, aboriginal rights and the environment. Her latest sparkling album spans powwow rock, house remix, rockabilly to big love songs.

“Buffy has performed here in the Fraser Valley before and we have a long-standing relationship with her. She is an amazing woman.

“We also felt she would be a good fit for the 25th anniversary.”

She’s put out 17 albums, including the blockbusting song, Up Where We Belong, and many grew up watching her on Sesame Street.

The decision to hold the concert in Chilliwack was in part due to connections made with the Coqualeetza group in Sto:lo territory.

Last time Sainte-Marie toured the Fraser Valley, she happily visited the Xaytem rock, a vaunted Sto:lo spiritual site and longhouse interpretive centre near Mission.

Sainte-Marie is known to be fiercely proud of her First Nations culture and expresses her talent as a storyteller, songwriter, composer, activist, educator and perennial award-winner.

Her concern for the protection of indigenous intellectual property and her distaste for the exploitation of First Nations artists and performers have kept her in the forefront of activism in the arts for 40 years.

She runs the Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education through which the Cradleboard Teaching Project serves children and teachers across North America.

“The second reason is that you have a beautiful new cultural centre in Chilliwack,” the concert organizer said.

The Mission Folk Fest, along with Harrison Festival of the Arts are regional events, he said.

“Buffy has incredible energy and does a wonderful show.

“As she puts it, she feels like she was shot out of a slingshot. Of all the artists I’ve worked with over the years, she is a delight, contributing wholeheartedly.”

Buffy Sainte-Marie has continued to grow her music in parallel with a remarkably diverse life of esteemed awards, political blacklisting, and lifelong education pursuits. She has created three of her own television specials, scored movies, raised a son, earned a Ph.D. in Fine Arts, taught Digital Music as adjunct professor at several colleges and won both a Golden Globe and an Academy Award Oscar for the song, Up Where We Belong.

Artists from Elvis Presley to Bobby Darin, Barbara Streisand, Neil Diamond, Cher, Joe Cocker have recorded her songs.

Her concert at the Chilliwack Cultural Centre is part of the Mission Folk Music Festival’s 25th anniversary year of special events. The festival takes place July 19 to 22 at the Fraser River Heritage Park in Mission. It also produces festival related events throughout the Fraser Valley and is acknowledged as one of the finest music festivals in Western Canada. www.missionfolkmusicfestival.ca

Buffy Sainte-Marie, March 4, $35 advance $40 door  (incl. fees + taxes), chilliwackculturalcentre.ca/event/buffy-sainte-marie or  604 391-7469.