Downie announced the project, which is dedicated to a 12-year-old Ojibway boy who died from hunger and exposure trying to escape from a residential school near Kenora, Ont., earlier this month just weeks after The Hip’s final show of the Man Machine Poem Tour in hometown Kingston, Ont. in what was widely described as the band’s final show.
Downie’s new album – which will be accompanied by a graphic novel and a film – aims to educate Canadians about his story and about residential schools.
“I never knew Chanie, the child his teachers misnamed Charlie, but I will always love him,” wrote Downie in a statement about his project.
Chanie (Charlie) Wenjack’s frozen body was found in 1966 along the railroad tracks near Kenora, a week after he ran away from school.
Downie is set to play in Ottawa on Oct. 18 at the National Arts Centre, and in Toronto on Oct. 21 at Roy Thomson Hall, with proceeds going to reconciliation.
“Secret Path” is Downie’s fifth solo album. In January 2001, the singer released “Coke Machine Glow,” followed by “Battle of the Nudes” in 2003. In 2010, “The Grand Bounce” was released followed by “Gord Downie, The Sadies, And The Conquering Sun” in 2014.
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