Jeremy Dutcher breathes new life into old songs



On his debut album, “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa” (Our Maliseet Songs), which won him the 2018 Polaris Music Prize and the 2019 Juno Indigenous Album of the Year, Jeremy Dutcher sings in Wolastoqey, the endangered language of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick of which he is a member.

For this album, Dutcher, who trained as an operatic tenor and anthropologist at Dalhousie University, took traditional songs sung by his Wolastoqiyik ancestors that had been collected by anthropologist William Mechling more of a century and stored on wax cylinders, and revitalized them using Western instruments. like piano and strings, plus electronics while backing it all up with classic and pop chord progressions and a dash of jazz harmonies.

“By weaving together the threads of influences, whether Wolastoq song, Western art music, pop forms, jazz harmonizations, it is for me the most natural expression of music,” Dutcher said. “An artist must paint with the colors at his disposal. Why shouldn’t I marry the beauty of our ways with the tools of my time?

On Saturday, October 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the FirstOntario Concert Hall, Dutcher will join the HPO for songs from “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa” as well as other selections. Guest conductor Lucas Waldin contributed the lion’s share of the show’s orchestral arrangements while Owen Pallett and Rebecca Pellet handled the rest.

“We learn to be with each other through the songs we sing to each other,” Dutcher said. “My hope is that by bringing Western art music, and by extension the concert hall, into conversation with our melodies, our rhythms, our languages, our beauty, and not just our pain, we can find ourselves.”

Tickets to or by calling 905-526-7756: $30.10 – $109.20 (all inclusive).

The second of HPO’s three October offerings is their intimate and immersive concert with HPO Music Director Gemma New on Friday, October 28 at 7:30 p.m. at The Cotton Factory, 270 Sherman Ave. NOT.

The ‘Our Wondrous World’ poster features ‘Convergence’ by HPO 2022-2023 composer Cadu Verdan.

“‘Convergence’ is a deeply personal work that emerged from the isolation of an immigrant (from Brazil) with limited language skills living in a new country in the midst of a pandemic,” recounted HPO Composer-in-Residence Abigail Richardson-Schulte. “Music reaches a bright and glorious climax when darkness is left behind and integration and reunion with loved ones is achieved.”

Also performed are “Moondraal Moondru” by Gabriel Dharmoo (“Thrice Three” in Tamil), “Ghosts of Trees” by Christopher Thornborrow, “Remnant Shoreline” by Bekah Simms and “Demon Gate” by Alexina Louie.

Amy McIntosh, founding member of Hamilton Audio Visual Node, is this season’s I&I visual artist.

Tickets above: $43.55 (all inclusive).

On Sunday, October 30 at 2 p.m., New will be on the podium at the FirstOntario Concert Hall to lead the HPO in “The Spirit Horse Returns.”

This 90-minute family concert tells the story of an Indigenous storyteller and symphonic musician who travel back in time across Turtle Island to discover a mysterious chain of little horses that can teach nations the importance to care for each other and the land they share.

This production is a collaboration between Cree composer Andrew Balfour, narrator and Wasauksing First Nation member Jodi Contin, who also served as cultural advisor for the show’s songs, narrator and former HPO principal horn Ken MacDonald , visual artist and knowledge keeper Rhonda Snow, and composer Kevin Lau who orchestrated the musical landscape.

“I know of no Canadian work for young audiences that so deeply integrates Indigenous and non-Indigenous composers and performers,” MacDonald said in a press release. “’The Spirit Horse Returns’ is a hopeful story of truth and reconciliation suitable for all ages.”

Tickets above: Youth (5-17) $15.30, Adult/Senior $35.75 (all inclusive).

In addition, David Willms has been appointed Music Director of the Hamilton Philharmonic Youth Orchestra. Rehearsals for their November 26 concert begin this Saturday.

On Wednesday, October 19 at 12:30 p.m. at the Burlington Performing Arts Centre, 440 Locust Street, Sabatino Vacca’s Southern Ontario Lyric Opera performs Humperdinck’s “Hansel and Gretel,” abridged and with piano accompaniment, for local schools and adults. Tickets: adult $20 (all inclusive). Call 905-681-6000.

On Friday, October 21 at 7:30 p.m., McMaster’s LIVELab, 1280 Main St. W., presents Eric Guo and Agne Radzeviciute, second and third prize winners respectively in the 2019 Fifth Canadian Chopin Piano Competition, in recital. Scientific overview by Rory Kirk. Tickets to$20, student $10, free live stream with registration.

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