Polaris Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher to perform and speak at BU

March 1, 2019

BRANDON – Polaris Music Prize winner Jeremy Dutcher will visit Brandon University (BU) to conclude the 2018-19 pro series season on Tuesday, March 5.

Head and shoulders photo of Jeremy Dutcher

Jeremy Dutcher

The Toronto-based musician will also take part in a workshop on Monday, March 4, presented by the Institute for Research in Music and Community at BU.

A former artist in residence at the National Music Centre (NMC), Dutcher was awarded the 2018 Polaris Music Prize, recognizing outstanding Canadian recordings, for his album “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa.” Dutcher will follow his current tour of Western Canada by performing in Europe in April.

“I heard Jeremy for the first time on the radio last spring. He spoke with such eloquence about music and the process by which he came to his work. The excerpts from his record were equally brilliant,” said Greg Gatien, Dean of Music at BU. “The first thing I did when I got to my office was contact Jeremy through his website, inviting him to Brandon. Later that day, I learned that several of our faculty member were about to recommend him for our pro series; we had all been similarly and profoundly impacted by hearing Jeremy’s music. Of course, Jeremy’s music was later recognized in September with one of Canada’s most prestigious prizes. We are so fortunate to be hosting Jeremy, and I hope many people get to experience what is certain to be an incredible concert.”

Tuesday’s concert will begin at 7:30 p.m., in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall in the Queen Elizabeth II Music Building. Dutcher’s talk on Monday will also take place in the Lorne Watson, starting at 1:40 p.m. Dutcher will talk about the creative process during the recording of “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa.”

A member of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Dutcher is not only a vocalist, but also an accomplished pianist and drummer, a musicologist, a composer and an activist. It was during his classical music studies in Halifax that he discovered there are few documented works composed by Indigenous people or about their challenges. This and the fact that there are only about 100 speakers of his mother tongue pushed him to look into the traditional music of his people. He initiated extensive research in the archives of the Canadian Museum of History.

“When you don’t see something out there, you have to make it yourself,” Dutcher said on his publicist’s website, adding that he began listening to the museum’s archival wax recordings of Wolastoqu songs and composing accompaniments on the piano to help conserve the melodies. “Many of the songs I’d never heard before, because our musical tradition on the East Coast went underground. … I understood at once that it was my responsibility to bring these back to the people, and think about all the good things these songs could bring into our community if we start to sing them again.”

“Song is just one part of a multifaceted project of reclamation of Wolastoqiyik identity.”

His efforts led to the recording of “Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa,” and his hope is to help ensure the continuity of his distinctive cultural heritage, including the language.

“I think Indigenous music has really been underrepresented in what people think of as Canadian music,” he said in an NMC video. “This is the music of this land, so … to be able to reclaim it and say ‘We’re still here, this is our music and this has been our music for generations, and now we get to share it with you,’ we’re finally in a place culturally where that is a conversation that could be had.”

Tickets for the pro series recital are $15 for general admission, and $10 for students, seniors, and alumni. Tickets are available at the door or in advance at the Main Office of the School of Music. So that this event may be enjoyed by all, please contact Joyce Burba at 204-727-9631 or Burba@BrandonU.ca in advance with any accessibility considerations. The pro series will return in September 2019, with a new season of exceptional performances.

The School of Music gratefully acknowledges the generous support of the Canada Council for the Arts, and the Province of Manitoba, through a Consolidated Arts Programming Grant through Culture, Heritage and Tourism.

Please note that seating in the Lorne Watson Recital Hall is limited and that programmes are subject to change. For an up-to-date listing of pro series and student performances, please visit Events.BrandonU.ca.