Singing River is a collaborative performance project situated on Toronto’s Wonscotonach/Don River that culminates in a series of performances and installations June 27 — July 10, 2015, launching Pan Am Path. 

A project by Urbanvessel in collaboration with Native Earth and Evergreen Brickworks. Urbanvessel artists weave together images, movement and sound, drawing the audience into an active and heightened relationship with water. Water ceremonies, stories and songs from First Nations and settler cultures intermingle to create a dialogue between communities, reconnecting us to the river.

As part of the project Juliet Palmer and I collaborated on two audio installations responding to the Wonscotonach / Don River through an acoustic ecology perspective:


Transducers applied to a pedestrian bridge transformed it into a vibrating loudspeaker amplifying the sounds of the river rapids recorded upstream using underwater microphones. Periodically the voices of young women from the First Nations School of Toronto emerge from the rapids singing the river’s Anishinaabemowin name to the most constricted and polluted section of the waterway . Original song for the Wonscotonach River composed by Marie Gaudet.

Inner Rivers

An 8 channel audio installation of diagnostic ultrasound recordings transport the listener along the body’s inner rivers through an immersive installation in a tunnel along the bike path. Research work in Dr. Peter Burns' laboratory at the University of Toronto makes use of Doppler ultrasound to measure the dynamic flow of blood, its pressures and the resistance of blood vessels themselves. Ultrasound imaging of blood flow can provide an audible indicator of health or illness.

Toronto is a city of rivers — underground rivers hemmed in by concrete and rivers which run freely through the ravines of this forested metropolis. Toronto’s rivers are its lifeblood and raison-d’être. The Humber and Don rivers have supported human habitation for thousands of years —from the Wendat, Haudenosaunee and Mississauga peoples, to the French and English fur traders, and in the last two hundred years or so, successive surges of immigration. Once bountiful with salmon, our rivers are now shadows of their former selves.

Juliet Palmer— composer & artistic director
Julia Aplin— choreographer
Sean Frey — co-designer
Sonja Rainey — co-designer

Christine Duncan – vocal soloist & conductor
The Element Choir — improvising community choir
TORQ Percussion– percussion quartetASSOCIATE ARTISTS
Nova Bhattacharya — dancer/choreographer
Anna Chatterton — writer
Penny Couchie — dancer/choreographer
Sharada Eswar — storyteller/singer
Jani Lauzon — storyteller/singer/actor
Subhiksha Rangarajan — singer
Aki Takahashi — musician/singer
Maryem Tollar — singer
Diana Tso — storyteller/actor
Christopher Willes - Sound Artist

Photography by Claire Harvie

For More Information: Ubanvessel