In the early 1990’s Rod (Littlesky) Bandura, from the Qayqayt First Nation, performed in an Indigenous band with Terrance Armstrong. This band was called Waskesu….meaning Song of the Elk. Rod and Terrance wrote many songs together. Their music beautifully conveyed their life experiences, which many people share; highlighting the pain of colonialism and the strength of ceremony. Touring with Kashtin and other Indigenous artists; like playing with Susan Aglukark and for the Prime Minister, Jean Chretien in 1994 as well as the Common Wealth Games; they shared their music across the country. Waskesu played on Much Music several times, even braving subzero weather to play at Much Music’s Snow Job in 1994. Unfortunately Terrance passed away and these songs were put aside.
Since Waskesu, Rod has played with many more amazing musicians; But in 2009, he found a kindred spirit, someone who shared and understood his passion and love for music. Margit Bandura (Gossage), from Sun Peaks, and Rod have magical chemistry, clearly visible to anyone who watches them perform; together they became the Margit Sky Project in 2011.
The Margit Sky Project plays as a duo, or up to a six-piece band. Originally, the band covered songs but with their own spin, always, with Rod’s playing pushing the guitar beyond the original song. They released two CD’s of their originals and cover songs, “It’s been so long” and “Two”. They enjoyed some success opening for Kevin Costner and Modern West, Burton Cummings, Trooper, Barney Bentall, Elliot Brood, and Ridley Bent. Over the last five years Rod has been drawn back to his Indigenous music with the the lyrics still as relevant as they were twenty-five years ago. Recognizing the importance of this music, the Margit Sky Project received a grant from the First Peoples’ Cultural Council and recorded the original songs. The lyrics from the songs like, “Come my brother, come my friend, you know that we can stand up tall again” offer support and guidance for those lost “living in a concrete land”. These songs led to the creation of “Music for the People – A Cultural Experience”, a collaboration with performers from the Kamloops Symphony Orchestra and the Sage Hills Singers, Drummers and Dancers. Because of this show, the have been able to make donations to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society.
Given his experiences, the power of music to heal, communicate, and transform spaces is unquestionable to Littlesky. As he transitions into the position of Elder in his community, he wants to tell his stories and the stories of those who are lost, through music. The Margit Sky Project is the bridge to those who need connection and a break from the challenges of the world. With passion, talent and love, Rod and Margit will harness the power of music