BACK TO WHERE MY HEART BELONGS

“Back To Where My Heart Belongs”* is a collaborative intergenerational song-writing project and Cree (nēhiyawēwin) language exchange between Moe Clark, multi-disciplinary artist Cheryl L’Hirondelle and traditional educator and songwriter Joseph Naytowhow. Gathering in the Qu’Appelle Valley in Saskatchewan, otherwise known as Ketepwa, for two weeks during the Medicine Picking Moon (August) 2013 they co-wrote five songs in Cree language (nēhiyawēwin). An enriching experience of sharing, connecting with elders in story and ceremony, as well as land-based artistic activities inspired a deeper understanding and respect of the nēhiyawēwin (Plains Cree) language and Cree world-view. A series of dialogues took place with elders Bob Smoker (Saulteaux) and Noël Starblanket (Cree) to understand place names of the land, migration and history of communities, and the cosmological relationships between living beings.

Pieces created were performed in February 2014 in Regina for Sâkêwêwak Distinguished Storytellers’ Festival and nitâhkôtan lullaby piece was created into a video poem in collaboration with Wapikoni Mobile in June 2014.

TRANSMISSION:

Every song ever made has a language and a story unto itself, and from this place, five distinctly different yet interconnected songs were created.

I. Prayer song to the ancestors as a transmission through the generations;

II. Lullaby as transmission below is a song of arrival and returning onto the land for guidance, using language as a bridge for gratitude and connection to Mother Earth.

III. Song of Reclamation as transmission above is a dream piece for the birds to carry our voices higher. The intention behind niki pawatin song is to honour treaties using vocabulary that relates to their original spirit and intent, and to bring awareness to the interconnectedness of all.

IV. Playful syllabics song as transmission forward was created as a phonetic voicing to be used in learning and voicing syllabics.

V. Remix in nēhiyawēwin as transmission inward of Buffy Sainte-Marie’s (1976) song: “Qu’Appelle Valley Saskatchewan” to awaken language and knowledge of traditional ceremonies and to honour Buffy as an artist who’s ancestry is originally from the land of Treaty 4.

* Quoted from Buffy Sainte-Marie’s song “Qu’Appelle Valley Saskatchewan” from “Sweet America”, 1976.

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