Ann Mortifee said she isn’t usually one to look back on past accomplishments, but since turning 70 last year she’s taken time to reflect on a lifetime of performance art and travel.
“I really felt that sometimes it’s really good to recapitulate to go back over your life and say, ‘My gosh, I’ve taken an extraordinary journey and look where it’s led,’” she said.
Mortifee’s extraordinary journey has taken her around the world as a renowned singer, songwriter, actor, playwright, activist and caregiver. The Vancouver resident has been performing fewer concerts over the last few years but she’ll be heading to Nanaimo this weekend for a musical reunion with an old friend.
Mortifee and her band will perform on a double bill with Nanaimo’s Rick Scott and Nico Rhodes at the Port Theatre on Sunday, March 11.
Mortifee and Scott go way back; they met when Mortifee cast him in her first full-length musical, Reflections on Crooked Walking, in the early ’80s. However, she said this will be the first time they perform together in concert since a gig at a fair in Jackson, Miss. decades ago. She said they will make appearances during each other’s sets.
“I went back over some of the events of my life that were very important for me…” Mortifee said of her retrospective repertoire.
“I was born in Africa, so I’ll definitely touch on Africa. And I’ve spent time there with the head sangoma, or shaman, of the Zulu nation and so I do some songs related to that and I spent time in India so I do one song from India.”
She said she’ll be revisiting songs she hasn’t sung in “years and years and years,” yet despite their age, Mortifee says her older material still holds up well.
“I’ve got some new songs in there as well, but what I found so interesting was that so many of the things I was talking about then are still happening today. Nothing much has changed,” she said.
Mortifee said her new and old songs work well in each other’s company. She said she’s always maintained a distinct way of seeing the world and experiencing music.
“I don’t write about the same things, but I think we are who we are and that we grow and we change but basically I think it’s imprinted on us fairly young what your motivation is in life,” she said.
“So that comes out in the music and it also comes out in the way you feel. Because, really, the melody travels on how you feel.”
WHAT’S ON … Ann Mortifee joins Rick Scott and Nico Rhodes at the Port Theatre on Sunday, March 11 at 2:30 p.m. Clocks move ahead one hour for daylight savings. General admission is $38, $20 for students. Tickets available at the box office.