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‘It’s a big loss’: musician Vince Fontaine recalls at Winnipeg event

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About 100 people gathered at The Forks on Sunday afternoon to honor a beloved member of the Manitoba music community who recently passed away.

Juno Award-winning guitarist Vince Fontaine died last Tuesday after a heart attack. A member of the Sagkeeng First Nation, Fontaine was the co-founder of the band Eagle & Hawk and a former frontman of the folk-rock band Indian City. It was 60.

Fontaine’s granddaughter, Manitoba NDP MLANahanniFontaine, says she misses her uncle very much.

“I’m extremely honored that so many people came out to celebrate my uncle Vince Fontaine. Indeed, if you look around, it is a testament to the impact he made on people’s lives and commitment to the community,” she said.

A memory of her uncle that she will never forget is to see her perform in Europe touring with Eagle & Hawk.

“Here they are, across the ocean, sharing indigenous realities and experiences and people liked it. I will always keep those memories.”

WATCH | Vince Fontaine is remembered at the Winnipeg event:

Tribute to Vince Fontaine at The Forks

About 100 people, including musicians, gather at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg to honor Vince Fontaine, a beloved member of the Manitoba music community who recently passed away. 1:50

Numerous musicians performed outside at the Oodena Celebration Circle at The Forks in downtown Winnipeg during Sunday’s homage event.

“Vince Fontaine was a pioneer in Manitoba and just talented and a really nice person,” said Holly Vezina, who sang. Amazing grace.

“It’s a big loss. The music community has also suffered a big loss.”

Vezina said she also came to Sunday’s event to honor her brother, Norman Vezina, who starred in the band Why Knotts. He died last week, she said.

Singer-songwriter Jeremy Koz, who was a bandmate with Vince Fontaine, said Fontaine was passionate about his music and indigenous culture. (Marouane Refak / Radio Canada)

Singer-songwriter Jeremy Koz performed “Star People,” a song he recorded with Fontaine the day before Fontaine died.

The song was recorded for Jacquie Black, an indigenous storyteller and respected figure in the Manitoba music industry while she was in the hospital. Black died Wednesday, a day after Fontaine died.

Koz said Fontaine, his bandmate, was passionate about his music and indigenous culture.

“Every time I’ve been with him, whatever project or whatever he’s working on, no matter who he was, he would talk about this song or what impact that song has, or there would be a way to “Bring them and get them. Interested, you know, because he was very passionate,” he said.

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