Faith Nolan
 


Awards:
  • 2009 Music Heritage Award, African Nova Scotian Music Association
  • 2008 Ontario Federation Labour Cultural Activist Award
  • 2005 Robert Sutherland Award for Activist and Musical Contribution to African Canadians, Queen's University

February 6th is the birthday of Natalie Cole and the infamous Bob Marley, so it is no wonder that on that same date in 1957 Nova Scotia would produce it's very own musical marvel.

Faith Nolan was born to Theresa Nolan of Glace Bay and musician Billy Campbell of Sydney, Nova Scotia. A heritage of African Nova Scotian, Miq'Maq and Irish ancestry, would later play a major role in her work.

She remembers picking up an instrument at the age of 7 and pretending to pluck out tunes. At fourteen she was given her very first guitar lesson and a new life course was charted for young Faith.

She began playing and writing. At the age of sixteen she wrote "Divide and Rule" making her mark as a political activist with strings instead of signs.

She began playing folk songs, jazz and blues on the street corners of Toronto and in local coffee houses.

At the age of eighteen she made her way back to Halifax. Homeless, with a guitar on her back, Faith Nolan knew she had to learn more in order to find her place in the world. Both musically and spiritually, she entered the Dalhousie Theater Program, and joined a little theater group on Barrington Street.She took whatever work she could find, but it would not be time wasted. She learned to combine her own life experience of growing up poor, black and gay into an inspiring collection of songs that would later take her around the world.

Over the years, Faith Nolan would create a body of work that actively speaks to the history of African Nova Scotians, native sovereignty, feminism, homophobia and the struggles of the everyday worker.

To date she has 13 CD's. More importantly, Faith Nolan has been instrumental in giving voice to those who can't find their own. In the 80's she created a program called - "Empowering Women Through Music", which came out of a sing along with women in prison. When Faith saw the effect her music had on women who were incarcerated, she knew there was a definite need for her here. Today she has performed at the Grand Valley Prison for Women in Toronto, in the Bedford Hills, New York Prison the Chochilla Prison in California and the Kirkiri Prison in Lago's, Nigeria just to name a few.

Faith Nolan has created many choirs in Toronto, most recently the PSW CUPE Freedom Singers, consisting of 26 Black and South Asian women. Immigrants who work as public support and domestic workers in Canada. Srtong women singing about equality, poverty, racism and women's rights. They haev just released a new powerful CD called - "Hand On Cupe."

Among many awards Faith was bestowed with the Ontario Federation Labour Cultural Activist Award in 2008, as well as the Robert Sutherland Award for Activist and Musical Contribution to African Canadians from Queen's University in 2005.

Throughout her more than 30 year career, Faith has continued to find ways of addressing the ills of society through music and song while celebrating the strengths in us all. As Director of Voices of Freedom, the Mandela Children's Choir from 91-95, to Director of the Inactive of Elementary Teachers in Toronto, she brings meaningful music and stories to life fromall corners of the earth.

As she says in one of her earlier recordsings - nobody can stop me - from doing what's right. She has never stopped and continues to educate and bring joy and inspiration to us all.