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Zeegwon Shilling is a 14 year old, up and coming Anishinabe singer and musician who is expanding his knowledge and love of performing music. Last year in November, a video featuring him performing Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah went viral on Facebook with over 100,000 views in 3 days. Zeegwon recently made his acting debut guest starring on CBC Televisions’ The Coroner. This year Zeegwon will be returning to the 5th Annual Gchi-Dewin Indigenous Storyteller’s Festival at the Stockey Centre in Parry Sound, on Saturday November 30, 2019. We got to talk with Zeegwon about his love of music and his dreams for the future.

EC: Why were you drawn into learning performing music, and the piano specifically?

ZS: I just really enjoy being creative, showing the world my skills, and bringing joy to people. I was really drawn towards the piano because we had one in the house, and I just started playing around with it.

EC: After you’re done school, how do you see yourself expanding your musical skill set? What kind of genres would like to work in?

ZS: What I really want to do is become a professional musician. I hope to record, which I’m starting to do right now. But I hope to professionally record; it would be a dream of mine, and it would be super awesome. I would like to do lots of performances, and concerts – that would be very cool. I love performing. I’m still learning about what genres I really like. If I could choose one specific one, I would choose contemporary pop.

EC: Are there any artists that have inspired you musically?

ZS: I really love John Mayer. I love his writing. The Beatles are great. Queen for sure- they are definitely one of the biggest inspirations of mine. Shawn Mendez is really cool. I like him a lot.

Zeegwon Tabobondung from Wasauksing at our Waabnong Child & Fam Youth Camp in Muskoka just casually sat down at the piano during a break and simply blew..us..away!!.. the talent in our young ppl is so amazing that words cannot express.. enjoy the short clip.. and remember this young man’s name!!!.. question.. does anyone know how to link/send this video to the Ellen Degeneres Show???? #ellendegenerus

Posted by Perry McLeod-Shabogesic on Saturday, November 17, 2018

EC: Can you tell me a bit about your performance at the Festival. What should people expect?

ZS: I think I’m going to play the guitar, and sing two songs. I haven’t picked what order yet, I hope everyone likes them. They are both my favourites. I like playing the guitar, as well as the ukulele, and I’m learning the trombone in school right now.

EC: You have been helping and have been a part of the Gchi Dewin Storytellers Festival since its inception. What do you look forward to most and what have you learned helping your mother with the festival?

ZS: Learning new things and meeting new people. There’s lots of interesting people that talk about very interesting things. There are also always really awesome films and booths. Going back stage is pretty fun and seeing how it all works. I’ve learned to just keep working, and don’t give up. Keep going no matter what happens, stay on task and don’t let anything get in your way.

JOIN US for the 5th Annual Gchi Dewin Indigenous Storytellers Festival in Parry Sound, ON!

Full schedule and details: gchidewin.ca

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About The Author

Erica Commanda

Born in Toronto, Erica Commanda (Algonquin/Ojibwe) grew up in the small community of Pikwakanagan. From there she moved across Canada living in Ottawa, Vancouver and now Toronto, working in the bar/hospitality industry, mastering the art of listening to stories from her regulars while slinging and spilling drinks (at them or to them). And now through a series of random decisions and events in life she is on a journey discovering and mastering her own knack for storytelling as Associate Editor for MUSKRAT Magazine.

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