Photo Credit : Peter Hadfield
"Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawais an unprecedented piece of cultural archivism, and its revival of a dying tongue is an example of what music can tangibly do for humanity." - NOISEY (Phil Witmer)
"It is said that music is the universal language, but Toronto-based First Nations tenor and pianist Jeremy Dutcher has created an accessible album in his native Wolastoq, or Maliseet, a language spoken today in Canada by an estimated 600 people." - BILLBOARD (Karen Bliss)
"The future meets the past as Dutcher's resonant operatic voice is paired with a recording made over 110 years ago of a speech by Wolastoqiyik ancestor Jim Paul, on death and what comes after. Layered with crystalline strings and booming horns, the result sounds grandiose yet intimate." - NOISEY (Veronica Zaretski)
Jeremy Dutcher, outside the Aga Khan Museum // Photo Credit : Peter Hadfield
Today, Jeremy Dutcher shares his debut music video with the world for "Mehcinut", which was also the first single he ever shared. The video is co-directed by Jeremy Dutcher, and filmmaker Chandler Levack, and it was filmed at Aga Khan Museum in Toronto, ON.
The FADER says of the video, "One of Canada’s most exciting musicians doesn’t hold back for his first-ever music video," where "Dutcher becomes more prism than performer," adding that the album as a whole "was a work Canada needed, but could not have expected."
"Mehcinut" features an iconic dance performance, choreographed by two-spirit indigenous dancer and artist Brian Solomon, featuring an all indigenous dance group, and special guest dance performance by prolific award winning actress Tantoo Cardinal. Tantoo is a Member of the Order of Canada, and she has performed more than 100 film, television and theatre roles in Canada and the US, breaking barriers for onscreen representation of Indigenous peoples and has challenged negative stereotypes of Indigenous communities throughout her career, which has included roles in Dances With Wolves (1990), Black Robe (1991), Wind River (2017) and Through Black Spruce (2019). She has won a Gemini Award, a Canadian Screen Award for lifetime achievement, and a National Aboriginal Achievement Award.
The video for Mehcinut also features Jeremy’s ‘Table of Indigenous Excellence’; who are Indigenous cultural leaders, artists, filmmakers, and activists from across Canada, who gather at an adapted installation by multi-disciplinary Montreal artist Emily Jan, called ‘After the Hunt’.
In his own words, and his careful choices of what to make bold, here's Jeremy Dutcher on the "Mehcinut" video:
“This song calls back
and reaches forward across time.
Concerning indigenous continuation
and what it can mean.
For all those who have gone before
and all those who are yet to come.
‘ciw nihkanipasihtit naka weckuwapasihtit.
This video arises through collaborative processes,
between death and rebirth.
A beautiful assemblage of people
committed to telling
stories of reclamation and resilience.
Make Indigenous excellence visible.
To witness it in multitudes, is to know that we’ll be ok. Thrive.
To see a full table, is to see a collective
speaking of who we are.
Indigenous people are not one thing
we come from many different backgrounds
speak many different languages and ways.
Drawing our circles wide
we make our gathering places
relying on all gifts and abilities
to make our presence and positions known.
This project is a call to my community
let's show what we’ve done and can do
let’s send a dream into the future
for where we’ll go
Amplifying diverse indigenous voices
past, present and future
of inspiring artistic visions”
This video was created thanks to the generous support of the MVP Project, a joint initiative of RBCxMusic and the Prism Prize (administered by the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television), and with the support of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, FACTOR (The Foundation Assisting Canadian Talent on Recordings), and the Ontario Arts Council.
Tantoo Cardinal, joins the dance troupe // Photo Credit : Peter Hadfield
1) Lido Pimienta: 2017 Winner of the Polaris Music Prize, of Afro-Colombian and Wayuu descent.
2) Alanis Obomsawin: legendary 86 year old filmmaker who has made over 50 documentaries with the National Film Board of Canada that explore the lives and concerns of the First Nations Peoples of Canada. She has also been singing professionally since the 60s and has recorded many records. She is a member of the Abenaki Nation.
3) Leanne Betasamosake Simpson: Leanne is from Alderville First Nation, and is an award winning songwriter, poet, and activist, who has collaborated with A Tribe Called Red, Cris Derksen, and Sean Conway.
4) Tim ‘2oolman’ Hill: & Bear Witness: JUNO and MMVA award winning Indigenous DJ duo - A Tribe Called Red.
5) Asinnajaq Weetaluktuk: Asinnajaq is a multimedia visual artist, filmmaker, and curator whose short-form documentary “3000” was made in partnership with the National Film Board of Canada. She is from Inukjuak, Nunavik.
6) Arielle Twist: Arielle Twist is a Nehiyaw, Two-Spirit, trans woman, and works as a poet and sex educator, and released her first book of poetry, “Disintegrate/Disassociate” in 2019.
7) Chief Lady Bird: Chief Lady Bird is a First Nations (Potawatomi and Chippewa) artist from Rama First Nation. Her Anishinaabe name is Ogimaakwebnes, which means Chief Lady Bird. Through her art practice, she strives to look to the past to navigate her Anishinaabe identity whilst living in an urban space as well as advocate for Indigenous representation as an integral aspect of Canada’s national identity.
8) Emma Hassencahl-Perley: Emma is Wolastoqiyik, and shares the same first nation as Jeremy Dutcher (Tobique First Nation), Emma’s artwork explores themes of legislative identity, the truth about our shared history between Indigenous nations and the Settler state and society of Canada and her own identity as a Wolastoqiyik woman.
Dutcher’s Table of Indigenous Excellence // Photo Credit : Peter Hadfield
Earlier this year, Dutcher performed a Tiny Desk Concert at NPR and Bob Boilen said:
“There is no one making music like this 27-year-old, classically trained opera tenor and pianist. He's not only a member of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada, but one of fewer than 100 people who still speak — and in his case also sing — in Wolastoq. His Tiny Desk performance illustrates his deep respect for his heritage, even as he sings through vocal processors and looping devices of the very present. It's a dialog with the past that earned him a Polaris prize for his 2018 album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa (one of NPR Music's top albums of that year)."
Dutcher has also paired up with Spotify to launch the official Indigenous playlist on the platform! Entitled "Indigenous. Music by us, for us", it is a guest curated playlist showcasing the large variety of indigenous talent from Canada and abroad. Jeremy's personal choices includes songs by Tanya Tagaq, Elisapie, nêhiyawak and Buffy St-Marie.
Dutcher is currently on a nationwide tour, partnering with orchestras in cities across Canada to present Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa in a special symphony format. Arranged by Lucas Waldin, the performance premiered with the Toronto Symphony Orchestra at the Carlu Hall in Toronto in April. “This orchestra tour means so much to me,” says Dutcher. “It sews together two musical halves of myself. A tour like this would not have been possible just one generation ago, and I am honoured to bring our sounds into the concert hall and give them the treatment their beauty commands.” Dates and solo performances throughout Europe and North America, can be found below.
Photo Credit : Peter Hadfield
JEREMY DUTCHER 2019 TOUR DATES:
10/11: Detroit, MI – Detroit Institute of Arts
10/12: Toronto, ON – The Danforth Music Hall
10/17: Halifax, NS – Rebecca Cohn Auditorium *
10/19: Regina, SK – Conexus Arts Centre *
10/23: Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
10/24: Victoria, BC – Alix Goolden Performance Hall
10/26: Edmonds, WA – Edmonds Center for the Arts
11/08: Calgary, AB – Jack Singer Concert Hall *
11/09: Saskatoon, SK – TCU Place *
11/14: Fredericton, NB – Fredericton Playhouse Inc. *
11/15: Moncton, NB – Capitol Theatre *
11/16: Saint John, NB – Imperial Theatre *
11/19 Bertrand, NB - Musique Saint-Joachim / Église de Saint-Joachim
11/20: Bristol, NB – Weldon Matthews Theatre
11/22: St. John’s, NL – Arts and Culture Centre
11/23: Corner Brook, NL – Arts & Culture Centre
11/25: Happy Valley-Goose Bay – Lawrence O’Brien Centre
11/27: Georgetown, ON – Kings Playhouse
11/30: Sackville, NB – Mount Allison University
12/04: Chester, NS - Chester Playhouse Theatre
With Symphony Orchestra *