JEREMY DUTCHER - WOLASTOQIYIK LINTUWAKONAWA
RELEASE DATE : APRIL 6, 2018
Performer, composer, activist, musicologist — these roles are all infused into his 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, Jeremy first did music studies 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 ofthe songs I'd never heard before, because our musical tradition on the East Coast was suppressed by the Canadian Government’s Indian Act.” Jeremy heard ancestral voices singing forgotten songs and stories that had been taken from the Wolastoqiyikgenerations 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 eruptfervently 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'relosing an entire way of seeing and experiencing the world from a distinctly indigenous perspective.”
ABOUT THE ALBUM ARTWORK
Dutcher has also shared the powerful artwork that has become the album cover of Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa. Together with Cree visual artist Kent Monkman, the piece began with the iconic image of ethnographer Frances Densmore collecting songs from Blackfoot chief Ninna-Stako in 1916. The image “is one that has followed me through the process of working on Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa; maybe haunted me,” says Dutcher. “I wanted to flip this image on it’s head and reflect on a contemporary musical self-determination, while integrating the supposed objectivity of the archival project and how it reinforces detachment from communal rematriation. We are reclaiming it.”
The album cover, photographed by Matt Barns and a featuring a custom jacket from Wolastoq designer Stephanie Labillios, also includes Monkman’s stunning work “Teaching The Lost” as a backdrop.
WOLASTOQIYIK LINTUWAKONAWA TRACKLIST
1 Mehcinut (meh-jin-nud) - Death Chant
2 Essuwonike (us-soo-won-ni-gay) - Trading Song
3 Eqpahak (ek-ba-hug) - Savage Island
4 Ultestakon (ul-tes-tah-gun) - Shaker Lullaby
5 'kotuwossomikhal (kid-do-wus-soo-mi-gall) - Thirsty
6 Sakomawit (sah-ga-mow-wid) - Chief's Installation
7 Oqiton (ah-gwee-din) - Canoe Song
8 Nipuwoltin (nib-bu-wool-tin) - Wedding Dance
9 Pomok naka Poktoinskwes (bah-mog na-ga buck-tah-in-skwes) - Fisher and the Water Spirit
10 Qonute (gwa-nu-day) - Welcome Chant
11 Koselwintuwakon (guh-zell-win-two-wah-gun) - Love Song
CLICK PHOTOS TO DOWNLOAD HIGH RES