In April, 16-year old Emma Stevens and fellow music students from Allison Bernard Memorial High School in Eskasoni, Nova Scotia, took the internet by storm with their cover of The Beatles’ song Blackbird.
While a cover of a Beatles song may not usually make headlines, this one was special. Translated and sung in their native Mi’kmaq language, it was created to mark the United Nations’ International Year of Indigenous Languages and posted online.
And the internet responded. With more than 1.1 million views on Youtube to date, many of the comments are not only inspiring for the artists but touched a nerve with Indigenous and non-Indigenous listeners around the world.
One of those listeners was Sir Paul McCartney himself, who gave a shoutout to Stevens and the video during a June concert in Lexington, Kentucky.
Calling it “an incredible version,” McCartney encouraged his fans to check it out. Captured in a tweet by UN-Habitat Youth, his endorsement for the video has already racked up nearly 25,000 views.
#EmmaStevens gets a shout out by @PaulMcCartney "There's an incredible version done by a Canadian girl, see it on youtube, its in her native language." See her play at the opening of the @unhabitat @UN #UNHabitatAssembly – https://t.co/CqMSgF1VuE #paulmccartney #blackbird pic.twitter.com/WsuQaaczp3
— UN-Habitat Youth (@unhabitatyouth) June 2, 2019
In an announcement, Symphony Nova Scotia revealed that Stevens would perform the song as part of its concert The Beatles: The Long and Winding Road later this month.
The concert features award-winning musician Jim Witter. Witter has previously performed with Symphony Nova Scotia in concerts featuring the music of Billy Joel, Elton John, and Simon and Garfunkel.
This time, Witter casts his vocal skills to one of the greatest rock bands of all time, The Beatles. In this multi-media concert, Witter performs with Symphony Nova Scotia under the baton of Greg Burton.
The Beatles: The Long and Winding Road Starring Jim Witter takes place at the Rebecca Cohn Auditorium (6101 University Ave, Halifax) on October 25 through October 27. Visit symphonynovascotia.ca for tickets and information.