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Experience music and song 'like nothing you've ever heard'

Indigenous performer, composer, activist and musicologist Jeremy Dutcher to perform in Orillia June 8
2018-05-09 dutcher piano.jpg
Jeremy Dutcher will perform in Orillia at St. Paul's Centre on June 8.


MPOWER.LIFE presents An Evening in Concert with Indigenous musician Jeremy Dutcher on Friday June 8 at 7:30 p.m., in partnership with St. Paul’s Centre, Orillia.

Performer, composer, activist, and musicologist - these roles are all infused into Jeremy Dutcher’s art and way of life. His music, too, transcends boundaries: unapologetically playful in its incorporation of classical influences, full of reverence for the traditional songs of his home, and teeming with the urgency of modern-day struggles of resistance.

A member of Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Dutcher first studied music in Halifax before taking a chance to work in the archives at the Canadian Museum of History, painstakingly transcribing Wolastoq songs from 1907 wax cylinders.

"Many of the songs I'd never heard before, because our musical tradition on the East Coast was suppressed by the Canadian Government's Indian Act."

Dutcher heard ancestral voices singing forgotten songs and stories that had been taken from the Wolastoqiyik generations ago. As he listened to each recording, he felt his own musical impulses stirring from deep within.

Long days at the archives turned into long nights at the piano, feeling out melodies and phrases, deep in dialogue with the voices of his ancestors.

These "collaborative" compositions, collected together on his debut LP Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, are like nothing you've ever heard. Delicate, sublime vocal melodies ring out atop piano lines that cascade through a vibrant range of emotions.

The anguish and joy of the past erupt fervently into the present through Jeremy's bold approach to composition and raw, affective performances enhanced by his outstanding tenor techniques.

"I'm doing this work because there's only about a hundred Wolastoqey speakers left," he says. "It's crucial for us to make sure that we're using our language and passing it on to the next generation. If you lose the language, you're not just losing words; you're losing an entire way of seeing and experiencing the world from a distinctly indigenous perspective."

Tickets are now on sale at Tickets are $29 in advance and $35 at the door.

As part of the event, the Call #83 Art Exhibit in Macdonald Hall at St. Paul’s Centre will be open from 6 to 7 pm. Come and see these 16 local Indigenous and Non-Indigenous artists’ work on Truth and Reconciliation.