The poetry of Joséphine Bacon sung by Inuk soprano Deantha Edmunds

Deantha Edmunds, known as Canada’s first classical Inuk singer, will sing the collection Uiesh Somewhere by Joséphine Bacon adapted by Tim Brady. She will be accompanied by fourteen musicians from the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, led by conductor Lorraine Vaillancourt.

I was very enthusiastic about the idea of ​​accepting the invitation of the Nouvel Ensemble Moderne, because I was already a great admirer of Joséphine Bacon. His poetry is wonderfully beautiful, it speaks to my soulsays Deantha Edmunds.

For the occasion, the soloist, who is used to singing in Inuktitut, one of the main Inuit languages, had to learn Innu-aimun, the Innu language in which Joséphine Bacon wrote her lyrics.

In 2018, Joséphine Bacon published “Uiesh – Somewhere”, a collection of poetry in Innu-aimun and French.

Photo: BAnQ / Laure Morali

To do this, this singer from Labrador tirelessly listened to recordings of the poet reciting her work in order to reproduce each of her syllables in addition to working with a teacher.

She then sang the poems in the presence of Joséphine Bacon. To see her expressions on her face and in her eyes when she heard me sing her words was really very specialshe recalls.

I love singing in Innu-aimun so much! It is a wonderful language. »

A quote from Deantha Edmunds, soprano singer

Celebrating Indigenous Voices

Soprano Deantha Edmunds welcomes the opportunity to bridge different cultures and Indigenous works with open arms. At this point in my career, I am looking for opportunities to build stronger connections with other Indigenous artists and wider audiences.she explains.

The artist made his name by singing the unique music of Nunatsiavut, an autonomous territory managed by the Inuit of Newfoundland and Labrador.

These are works first written by composers from Europe, brought by German missionaries 250 years ago. Inuit communities then appropriated them, singing in Inuktitut and playing their traditional instruments.

Deantha Edmunds continues her cultural and musical exploration with her new album Connectionswhich features nine original songs in English and Inuktitut.

It is, according to her, a musical genre difficult to define. It’s contemporary, it’s classic, it’s indigenousshe says.

Dressed in red, Deantha Edmunds sings into the microphone in front of a mountain image.

Deantha Edmunds performed at the Frankfurt Book Fair in 2021 when Canada was guest of honour.

Photo: Deantha Edmunds Facebook page

I think it’s very important to promote Aboriginal music, poetry and art as much as possible. Our voices have been oppressed and silenced so often that it is time to celebrate them. »

A quote from Deantha Edmunds, soprano singer

The show Somewhere and other places will be presented Sunday at 7 p.m. in the auditorium of the Grande Bibliothèque de Montréal.

In the first part of the concert, the Forestare guitar ensemble, led by conductor Pascal Germain-Berardi, will present Arauco : por fuerte, principal y poderosa, a work inspired by a Spanish poem, as well as Keep the fire, a reading with music of poems by Andrée Levesque Sioui narrated by the author.

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