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Sandy Scofield

Acclaimed singer-songwriter earns BFA

October 22, 2009

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Singer-songwriter Sandy Scofield has won five Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, received three consecutive Juno nominations and taken home numerous other awards including the 2008 American Indian Summer Music award, the 2007 Canadian Folk Music award and the 2003 Western Canadian Music Award.

And this month she crowned her achievements with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in music from SFU.

"I come from a family of untrained musicians," says Scofield, a Métis/Cree/Saulteaux from St. Laurent, Man. "So I’m interested in learning more. At SFU, I’ve learned composition from Owen Underhill and Martin Gotfrit, and electro-acoustic music from Barry Truax."

One reviewer describes Scofield as a "complex artist who can move effortlessly from centuries-old aboriginal vocal styles to satiny pop to robust rhythm and blues and rock." She has fronted everything from raucous rockabilly, Cajun and zydeco bands to sophisticated folk-rock, jazz and vocal ensembles.

Scofield continued to perform professionally as she pursued her degree, taking several semesters off to tour and perform nationally and internationally in such diverse locales as Korea, Mexico, Austria, France and the Smithsonian Institute in Washington, D.C.

Yet despite her busy schedule, she still made time to perform at special SFU events and study African music and drumming at SFU’s international field school in Ghana, Africa.

"I have a compulsion to create," she says, "and also to mentor young people with new information as I receive it."

With a particular interest in composition and electro-acoustic music, she frequently receives commissions for composition and sound design, and has produced or co-produced most of her own albums after studying the technical aspects of recording with Truax.

Now, she’s setting her sights on a master’s degree in music.

"I want to continue to learn," she says, "and perhaps do a little less performing and little more composition. (And) I want to make a bigger contribution to the national Aboriginal music scene."

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