‘Mehcinut’ is the opening track off his forthcoming debut, ‘Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa’.
The latest project from New Brunswick-born musician Jeremy Dutcher of Tobique First Nation is nothing short of stunning. Dutcher has just shared the first single from his forthcoming debut album, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, (wool-las-two-wi-ig lint-two-wah-gun-ah-wa), a track that blends classical, traditional and pop influences to create a completely unique mix of sonic textures,
Dutcher is a classically trained operatic tenor, composer, activist and musicologist whose current musical exploration combines European influences with his own Wolastoq First Nation roots.
After studying music in Halifax, Dutcher worked in the archives of the Canadian Museum of History transcribing Wolastoq songs originally recorded on wax cylinders in 1900s.
“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.
The hours spent listening to these recordings acted as the initial inspiration for a new and unexpected creative path.
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. – Killbeat Music
The album’s first single and opening track, Mehcinut, pairs Dutcher’s power voice and piano compositions with orchestral accompaniment and samples taken from the original field recordings to create an uplifting anthem and an unforgettable teaser to the coming album.
“You are able to hear a speech by Jim Paul about death and what comes after, which ends the piece,” says Dutcher. “The lyrics, ‘Ya-ni-gwe-do’, are likely vocables, but could also be an older form of language no longer spoken.
“I’m doing this work because there’s only about a hundred Wolastoqey speakers left,” said Dutcher. “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.”
Last year, Dutcher toured and performed as part of the New Constellation’s Tour, a music and literary event hosted by Jason Collett that toured to cities, towns and First Nations Communities across Canada. Dutcher will has announced his first performances of 2018 with more dates expected to be announced in the spring.
Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa will be official released on April 6.
Feb 15-17 | Kansas City, KC | Folk Allliance
Mar 2 | Regina, SK | Forward Current Festival
Apr 10 | Toronto, ON | Canadian Opera Company
May 25 | Ottawa, ON | First Baptist Church
Jun 27 | Vancouver, BC | Queer Arts Festival