Indigenous music artist Jeremy Dutcher has announced a national tour in support of his Juno and Polaris Music Prize winning album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa.
While no stranger to the music circuit, this tour sees Dutcher partnering with orchestras in cities across Canada, including a performance with the Nova Scotia Symphony Orchestra on October 17.
“This orchestra tour means so much to me,” says Dutcher in a media release. “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.”
A homecoming of sorts for Dutcher, who first studied music in Halifax before moving onto work in the archives of the Canadian Museum of History, he is a member of New Brunsick’s Tobique First Nation. A classically trained operatic tenor and composer his music blends his First Nation roots into the music he creates, shifting between classical, traditional, and pop into an entirely new genre.
It was at the Canadian Museum of History where Dutcher worked transcribing songs in his nation’s traditional Wolastoq language 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,” said Dutcher of his time working at the archives in a 2018 interview with Vancouver Presents.
As Dutcher listened to the recordings, he soon found his own musical impulses stirring. Dutcher’s long days at the archives soon turned into long nights at the piano, as he explored his own voice in a deep dialogue with the voices of his ancestors.
The result was Dutcher’s debut album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa which went on to win the 2018 Polaris Music Prize and the 2019 Juno Award for best Indigenous music album of the year.
“I’m doing this work because there’s only about a hundred Wolastoqey speakers left,” he said. “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.”
Jeremy Dutcher appears with Symphony Nova Scotia on October 17. Visit symphonynovascotia.ca for tickets and information.