Pat Blythe – A Little Vacay …Waabi Nibi Water Crisis …April in August …and Music!

Heads up folks, DBAWIS will be going on summer hiatus beginning next week until September 7. So after today (Wednesday) I won’t be landing in your inbox or appearing on my FB timeline again until September 11. Hmmmmm…..come to think of it, I may resurrect a few oldies but goodies on my timeline, just to keep you on your toes.  So with that, let this post begin….

On July 31 a very special event was held at the Gladstone Hotel. The Waabi Nibi Vision of Water Revue was spearheaded by singer/songwriter Evan Redsky, who also hosted and performed. Galvanized into action by a tweet from Ottawa MP Catherin McKenna, Minister of the Environment and Climate Change about how good Ottawa’s tap water is, it propelled Redsky into high gear who felt this was a “slap in the face” to the Indigenous communities who have no potable water and have been under boil water advisories for years. The entire undertaking was somehow put together in two weeks, drawing a sold-out crowd and attracting over 20 Indigenous and non-Indigenous performers, from Ansley Simpson to Tom Wilson to July Talk. It was a fun, memorable, jam-packed evening to raise awareness for a vital cause and a damned good response to those who appear grossly out of touch with those they represent.

Evan Redsky

Big thanks to Lisa MacIntosh who originally invited me and who unfortunately, at the last minute, couldn’t go. I would not have heard about it had Lisa not reached out to me. So at the last minute good friend and fellow photographer/drummer Karl Anderson agreed to be my date for the evening. We had a blast. We also discovered “Music Bingo” but I digress…. A little about Waabi Nibi……


“Waabi Nibi is Anishinaabemowin for vision of water. Our vision is of healthy Indigenous children, families, and communities who have uninhibited access to clean, drinkable water. The spirit of Waabi Nibi is to collectively honour water and Indigenous lives through music, art, and community…our vision holds true for many generations to come.”

The evening of Indigenous and non-indigenous artists, performers, musicians, speakers and storytellers was a beautifully co-ordinated benefit to raise money and provide a broader awareness of the continuing Indigenous water crisis across Canada. There is, and has been for the past several years (in some areas over 25 years!!!), a boil water advisory for over 100 communities across the great country of ours….an advisory that is inexcusable, shameful and truthfully, should be highly embarrassing for a country such as Canada….a country that holds one-fifth of the world’s fresh water supply. REALLY!!!! I’m trying to understand exactly how many headlines we need before it really sinks in that this country has seriously fucked up when it comes to one single, simple basic human need. Considering what we started with, the fact that we have to clean it at all is both poignant and downright depressing.

  • Human Rights, April 2019
  • Policy Watch, February 2019
  • Globe & Mail, January 2019
  • –        BBC News, August 2018
  • –        VICE News, September 2017
  • –        MacLeans, February 2019
  • –        Global News, July 2019

In super, super, super simple terms…this is NOT meant to get in a history lesson or politics….

Let’s go back a couple of hundred years or so when explorers decided to go on a discovery mission as explorers are wont to do. Volia! Hey boys, look what I found…..a huge chunk of land that has everything we need. Animals for food and pelts, lush flora and fauna, beautiful landscapes and lots of land to plant and build on, but most especially, pure, unadulterated, crystal clean drinking water….from coast-to-coast….man, this place has it all! Ya, it’s inhabited by “natives” but never mind, we’ll deal with that.

In the ensuing years the peoples that had been respecting and living here off the land for millennia are disregarded and discarded like somebody’s garbage. Along with the people so is the earth, the sky, the animal life and most especially the water.

Fast forward to the 21st century and where are we now? Water, air and soil polluted, land desecrated and paved over, entire species lost and habitats destroyed, people segregated, marginalized and pushed out….a country of cement, glass, steel, highways and graveyards. We are unrelenting and unforgiving in our quest to move forward, to grab and take what we can while shoving aside everything in our path for what? I don’t believe there is one single answer. What a fucking mess!!! Report card…a drastic fail….a fail so low one wonders if in fact there is any chance of recovery? Oh…..and that’s just Canada. As much as I love this country, we’ve got a lot of housekeeping to do. So that brings me back to water.

Water. H2O. Adam’s Ale. Aqua. Elixr of life. Nibi. Nothing can survive without it. Nothing. Nada. Bupkiss. Niente. So why are we not taking care of this basic, life-giving necessity? Why are we not, at the very least, providing clean drinking water to EVERYONE? There is simply no excuse, no reason or explanation. Canada has the knowledge, money and wherewithal to provide this basic human requirement, this sustainer of life, to every one of her people. Period! As a result of collective ignorance, arrogance and complete and utter indifference bordering on contempt, those explorers, their future generations and those who immigrated in the following years….of which I am a descendant….have created an environmental time bomb. We, not the Indigenous people, are the cause of this problem and therefore we are responsible for the solution. We need to fix this…..NOW!

Okay…..back to the event…..

Evan Redsky and band

I was amazed at the long list of musicians and speakers who carved out time from their busy lives, on such short notice, to lend their support. The merch tables were busy selling Vision of Water products as well as raffle tickets for the many donations sponsors had provided. Thank you to Branko for managing that. I haven’t had a chance to talk to Redsky but he certainly managed to pull the proverbial rabbit out of the hat. The fundamental goal was to raise awareness of the issue and from what I understand, close to $10K was donated as well.

Kate Boothman

Jesse Wente

Sam Cash

Beautiful Scars – Tom Wilson

A Tom Wilson perspective

Leah Fay and Peter Dreimanis of July Talk

July Talk

Aaron Goldstein/Espanola

“MIgwetch” to all who supported, donated and participated!

April in August…..

Evan Bowker….railing perch

Don’t ask why I was at the Bovine at 1am in the morning but….there I was, clubbing in the wee hours. Caught Evil Elvis aka KC Carlisle for the first time (it was his 39th Barfday Bash) and a new band on the Toronto scene, April. From the moment they took the stage, this young “revivalist” punk rock band from Hamilton slayed it! With antics and energy to spare, there was no shortage of moving body parts in the club. Fun and challenging to photograph, April’s fast-paced, all-original music takes you back to the screaming, in-your-face, rebellious, early glory days of punk.  The band is comprised of Eric Meloche on bass, PJ Reynolds on drums, Evan Bowker on lead vocals and Joe Towers on guitar. Special guest guitarist Stacy Stray filled in for Towers at the Bovine. April closed the night with their version of Billy Idol’s Rebel Yell. They left the packed audience yelling for more. I suggest you keep your eyes on these guys.

Evan Bowker

Eric Meloche and Evan Bowker

PJ Reynolds

Stacy Stray

….and Evil Elvis himself……

KC Carlisle

Dog Daze – Evan James Redsky

Summer Dress – July Talk

The song that turned me on to these guys…..

Picturing Love – July Talk

God Willing – Kate Boothman

Low Light – Lydia Persaud

Breakwall – Ansley Simpson

Shine – Tom Wilson (raw and unplugged)

Mohawk – Tom Wilson

Fall Together – Sam Cash & The Romantic Dogs

I discovered this somewhere and thought I’d add it to the music list…..What I loved most was the lyrics…..

Inside – Amanda Jean

Pull me

Back into where I’m meant to stay

Tell me

Everything is going to be okay

Cuz’ I’ve been down for too long

Can barely breathe

I need you to see in me

What I can’t see

Guide me

Back into the light

Hold me

As I lean into the night

Cuz’ somedays I wish I could

Turn back time

To when love was only what

You felt inside,


Feel me crumble in your hands

Watch me let the light back in

Cuz somedays I wish I could

Turn back time

To when love was only what

You felt inside, Inside Inside Inside

  • Amanda Jean

Enjoy the rest of the summer. See y’all in September…..


All photographs ©2019 Pat Blythe, A Girl With A Camera unless otherwise noted

“Boil Water Before Use” photograph was found on the internet (no attributing photographer noted)


Pat’s column appears every Wednesday.

Contact us at:

dbawis-buttonIn “real” life Pat Blythe has spent the past 32 years as a consultant and design specialist in the telecommunications industry. After an extended absence Pat is now heading back to the GTA clubs, immersing herself in the local music scene, tasting what’s on offer, talking to people and writing once again — sharing her passions and her deep love of music. Together for 34 years, Pat also worked alongside her late husband Christopher Blythe, The PictureTaker©, who shot much  of the local talent (think Goddo, Frank Soda Little Red-headed dancing girland the Imps, Plateau, Buzzsaw, Hellfield….) as well as national and international acts,  Currently making her way through 40 years of Chris’s archives, Pat is currently compiling a photographic history of the local GTA music scene from 1975 to 1985. It continues to be a work in progress. Oh…..and she LOVES to dance!

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