Just a mere 22 years old, Dallas Arcand Jr. is embarking on a second career that will further amplify his artistic vision.
Fans of the hoop dancer have watched him rack up the accolades for the last seven years including an invitation to represent Canada at both the 2012 London Olympics and the 2018 South Korean Olympic Games.
This past August, the Alexander First Nations band member released his first CD titled Moon Shadows. An accomplished flutist following in his father’s footsteps, Arcand Jr. is simply exploring his passion for artistic achievement.
The album’s main concept is that the 12-track replicates the spirit animals of the North American Indigenous zodiac. Some of the different animals include the wolf totem, the bear totem, the raven totem and the owl totem.
“Each song has a different feeling. The album is 100 per cent flute with different nature sounds of a rattlesnake, birds and lightning strikes. It’s kind of relaxing and kind of haunting,” said Arcand.
Under the direction of former RCA producer Peter d’Amico, founder of Calgary’s Black Bear Records, the album was tracked in three days.
“All the songs are original compositions by me. We had guidelines when tracking, but I gave a different feeling for each song. Some were even improvised,” Arcand explained.
Eager to establish himself as a professional musician, Arcand also plans to release Coyote and Raven, a second album in 2019.
“With the first album, Peter came up with the idea of the Native Zodiac, but you can only do so much with five notes on a flute. The second album will be more contemporary in the chord changes and bass lines. But it’s not techno. We have a certain melody tracking on the flute.”
Although the second album is no more politically motivated than the first, it will also include a powerful song in remembrance of the missing and murdered Indigenous women.
“It’s really a powerful song. On my travels I went to communities and played the song and people were in tears.”
Although Arcand was initially introduced to the flute through family connections, classical flautist Bonnie Lawrence helped the novice fine-tune his technique.
Lawrence is a Calgarian who was principal flutist/soloist with the Cuban National Symphony and the Valle Symphony Orchestra of Colombia. She also performed with numerous Latin bands and studied traditional Native American and South Indian flute masters.
“She’s an incredible flute player. I wasn’t musical in any way. But she taught me elementary steps and after three months practice, we were ready to track.”
Arcand looks back at Moon Shadow’s development stages and describes the CD as a healing album.
“When we were editing it, we tried different things. It ended up with a euphoric sound, and ‘wow,’ I couldn’t believe I played it.”