Tribute song to missing women raises money for drug treatment

Canadian Press

Thursday, April 18, 2002

VANCOUVER (CP) - Some of Canada's top musical talent will take part in a tribute song for 50 women missing from Vancouver's downtown eastside. Members of the punk band GOB, John Wozniak of the group Marcy's Playground and dozens of others were recording the chorus for the song Thursday evening.

The proceeds from sales of A Buried Heart will help fund a treatment facility for female drug addicts in the neighbourhood where the women have disappeared over the past two decades, said Wyckham Porteous, who co-wrote the song with his friend Gary Durban.

The 60-singer strong choir includes promising talent such as the roots group the Be Good Tanyas, as well as some of the country's most recognizable names, including members of the Grapes of Wrath and Spirit of the West. Blues singer Colin James and others will record the final song tracks in the coming weeks.

All the proceeds from the CD will go to the Via Nova Transition Society, a non-profit group planning to build a drug treatment centre for sex trade workers.

The women who have disappeared were drug addicts and prostitutes from the poor Vancouver neighbourhood.

Robert Pickton, 52, has been charged with the first-degree murders of six of the women since police began searching his Port Coquitlam farm in February.

"Once the police and task force did kick into gear . . . it became clear that something ugly did happen," Porteous said.

Hearing the place police have been searching for clues in the deaths called a pig farm really pushed him to do something, he said.

"The indignity of their lives, the indignity of their deaths, the indignity of their disappearance and now, if it is their final resting place, is referred to as a pig farm," Porteous said.

"That's the thing that really, for some reason, twigged me to want to help restore some sense of dignity to the families and other women on the downtown eastside, to say this wasn't total and completely in vain and their lives weren't worthless."

Durban said he was eager to take part when Porteous approached him about the project.

"We wanted to come up with a positive slant to this huge negative thing. It would be good to have something positive."

That was just a few weeks ago and the response from the music community has been incredible, they say.

Mushroom Studios, which is owned by Wozniak, and Arc2 Intertainment Inc. have backed the project, providing studio space, a Web site and a music video.

The song will be released as a single by late May or June.

Proponents of the new detox centre were not available for comment Thursday.

The plan has been to have a facility where four women at a time could spend a month.

 Copyright  2002 The Canadian Press




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Updated: August 21, 2016