The Chi-Geezis singers kind of came together in 1987, what we mean, “by kind” of is, the boys had been off and on with different names and amalgamated during that year. Greg had been with the younger fellows helping them get their feet wet at a few local gatherings while sitting with another drum in the mid eighties. They all found themselves eventually living in the same community, Sheshegwaning and practicing more and more.
This eventually led into the guys feeling very good about making things more of a regular thing. Although some songs on this collection were made before 1987 this should explain any possible confusion. Four of the original members are still active and strong on the group; they are Dean, Bill, Cliff and Greg. The other fellows were either too young and yet to be born in 1987. The guys have been through quite a bit these past twenty years. Typically, like any other group they’ve struggled with the usual issues such as members leaving the group for employment, education, marriage, and making babies to name a few. They have also endured some very heavy losses. They lost a founding member, friend and brother, to a very tragic incident that happened on the reservation. Greg’s mother, who had him going to pow wows and ceremonies since 1965 passed away. Dean’s father passed as well. Dean’s father always made dean aware of the gift he had been given in singing. Eugene/Junior’s father passed in another tragic incident. Eugene sr. Was also an uncle, friend and strong supporter of the drum. Not only had the guys endured these types of incidences, they also faced and beat things such as cancer, diabetes, substance abuse problems and much more.
The one thing that has helped the boys stay strong and continue has been the drum itself. The other helpful strength for the boys has been that they are al family. Hence one of their crow hop songs translated means, “the family that plays together, stays together. “ IN fact, many of the songs made, have been the result of events in their lives that once put into songs, worked as a type of healing for them and others who have heard their songs.
A few years ago when Greg’s eldest son was visiting, (he is married with four children of his own and lives in the states) they were at a pow wow and the MC had noticed that Chi-Geezis singers were not only all family but had four generations of singers that weekend. The guys hadn’t even notice this, but the MC and the committee did and held and honoring song for the guys, speaking of how this was a true example of the songs, teachings being passed down from generation to generation.
Sheshegwaning is a very small community of approximately 150 people on the western part of Manitoullin Island Ontario, Canada. Its not very common for such a small community to have a drum like this one but being from a small reservation has also helped the drum.
The community has supported the drum for many years now and still do. Whenever their community calls upon the guys for any event of ceremonies being held they are only too happy to oblige. They understand that community support is a major part of any drums successes.
The singers have chosen songs from the past twenty years that are their favorites as well as being requested by people at gatherings. They hope you enjoy what they have put together and all the best to every one. See you on the trail.