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Canadian indigenous tenor performing in Edmonds Oct. 26


October 10, 2019

Jeremy Dutcher, a Canadian indigenous tenor, composer, and activist, performs 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 26, at Edmonds Center for the Arts.

A classically trained tenor and ethnomusicologist and inner of Canada's Polaris Music Prize, Dutcher blend his Wolastoq First Nation roots into the music he creates. His compositions shift between classical, traditional, and pop.

Dutcher performs at 7:30 pm in a trio format, preceded by a free talk at 6:15 p.m.

A member of Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Dutcher is one of only about 100 people who speak Wolastoq, classified as a "severely endangered language."

Working in the archives at the Canadian Museum of History, he transcribed Wolastoq songs 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," he said. Dutcher heard ancestral voices singing forgotten songs and stories that had been taken from the Wolastoqiyik generations ago.

His debut album is called "Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa."

"I'm doing this work because there's only about a 100 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."

Dutcher said he identifies as two-spirit, a term used by indigenous communities to describe those embodying both a masculine and feminine spirit.

Tickets are $19-$44, with a 10% discount for seniors and military. $15 youth/student pricing available. Information: 425-275-9595, http://www.ec4arts.org. ECA is at 410 Fourth Ave. N.


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