Watch Buffy Sainte-Marie sing her song "Until it's Time for You to Go" on YouTube.com.
Buffy Sainte-Marie's songs range from the ballad 'Until It's Time for You to Go' (a minor hit in 1972 for Elvis Presley and also recorded by Cher, Neil Diamond, Claude Gauthier, Robert Goulet, Juliette, Cleo Laine, Vera Lynn, Carmen McRae, Odetta, Ginette Reno, Barbra Streisand, and many others) to such protest songs as 'The Universal Soldier' (written at Toronto's Purple Onion coffeehouse and a hit as recorded by Donovan, the song was inducted into the Canadian Songwriters Hall of Fame in 2005). Her songs about the native peoples include 'Native North American,' 'Now That the Buffalo's Gone,' 'Soldier Blue,' and 'My Country 'Tis of Thy People You're Dying.' Many are included in The Buffy Sainte-Marie Song Book (Belwin Mills/Grosset & Dunlap 1971). A later effort, 'Up Where We Belong,' written with her husband, the record producer Jack Nitzsche, and with Will Jennings, was heard in the US film An Officer and a Gentleman and won an Oscar award in 1983 for best song. A duet version by Joe Cocker and Jennifer Warnes was a major hit in 1982.
Sainte-Marie's own recordings, in a voice distinguished by a striking vibrato, include 12 LPs 1964-73 for Vanguard (including the popular Little Wheel Spin and Spin, VSD-79211, and the compilation Native North-American Child: an Odyssey, VSD-79340,which brought together her songs on Native subjects), two 1974-5 for MCA, and one in 1976 for ABC. The song 'Mister Can't See You' was popular in 1972. The two volumes of Vanguard's The Best of Buffy Sainte-Marie were reissued together on CD (VCD-3/4) in 1987. In the course of her LPs for Vanguard Sainte-Marie moved away from the folk idiom: I'm Gonna Be a Country Girl Again (1968) was in a country style and Illuminations (1970) introduced the electronics that presaged her use of synthesizers in concert during the 1980s. After a lengthy absence from recording, Sainte-Marie released the album Coincidence and Likely Stories (0946 3 21920 2 8 Ensign) in 1992. This album, which contained both electronic backings and traditional Aboriginal chants, won a Best International Artist award from France. Up Where We Belong (0 7243 835059 2 0 EMI), a collection of new and previously recorded tunes, followed in 1996; combining elements of pop, protest, and powwow music in an 'unplugged' style, it received the Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Juno in 1997.
In the 1990s, Sainte-Marie was heard in concert often in Canada, touring First Nations reserves and towns in Western Canada and Ontario. She sang with the Regina Symphony Orchestra under John Kim Bell, and with the NACO, and at festivals, including at Elora (1997) and the Ottawa Folk Festival (2002). She performed also in Sweden, Denmark, and France.
Sainte-Marie taught music and art at the Saskatchewan Federated Indian College; York University; Evergreen State College, Washington; and the Institute for American Indian Arts, New Mexico. She founded the Nihewan Foundation for Native American Education in 1969; her Cradleboard Teaching Project connects classes of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal children on-line. She was a spokesperson for UNESCO, and in 1997 was named the Native American Philanthropist of the Year. She became an Officer in the Order of Canada in 1997, and was awarded the Queen's Jubilee Medal in 2002. She received lifetime achievement awards from the Saskatchewan Recording Industry Association (1994), CARAS (Juno, 1995), the American Indian College Fund (1998), and the National Aboriginal Achievement Foundation (1999). As a painter, she exhibited her work in Vancouver, Calgary, Regina, Toronto, and Santa Fe.
Buffy Sainte Marie: Up Where We Belong. 1996. CBC Home Video; A1107 Astral Video</filmography>
Author Betty Nygaard King
Hale, Barrie. 'The rebirth of Buffy Sainte-Marie,' The Canadian, 14 Jan 1978
See, Lisa. 'Beginnings: Buffy Sainte-Marie,' Today, 7 Feb 1981
Kelly, M.J. 'Halfway around the world for a free concert Buffy comes back to Toronto,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 22 Dec 1986
Jung, Daryl. 'Politics temper tunes of the heart,' Toronto Now, 14-20 Apr 1988
McLean, Steve. 'Buffy Sainte-Marie back with new album after 16 years,' RPM, 4 Apr 1992
Ross, Val. 'Buffy's sound and light show,' Toronto Globe and Mail, 19 May 1995
Contemporary Canadian Musicians Issue 2 (Toronto 1998)
Wright-McLeod, Brian. The Encyclopedia of Native Music (Tucson, Arizona 2005)
Links to Other Sites
The website for the multitalented singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie. Includes a profile, discography, audio clips from selected recordings, and more.
A profile of Buffy Sainte-Marie from the website for the Nihewan Foundation.
Up where she belongs
Canadian legend Buffy Sainte-Marie reflects on a storied career in music in this CBC interview.
Western Canadian Music Awards
The website for the Western Canadian Music Alliance, which promotes the best in western Canadian music. Features the latest news about their annual awards gala. For a listing of previous winners and Hall of Fame inductees, click on the "Awards" link.
Until It's Time For You To Go
Watch Buffy Sainte-Marie sing her song "Until it's Time for You to Go" on YouTube.com. Check for additional music videos on the right side of this page.
GGPAA: Short Films
Watch a series of short films that pay tribute to numerous winners of the Governor General's Performing Arts Awards. From the National Film Board of Canada.
Watch a short video clip in which Aboriginal artist Buffy Sainte-Marie recounts how she was "discovered" in New York’s Greenwich Village. From cinefocus.com.
Shawnadithit grew anxious waiting for her uncle, Longnon, to return to camp at the junction of Badger Brook and the Exploits River, deep in the wilds of Newfoundland...