On Sunday October 28th, a Mi’kmaw Music Showcase held in Membertou Nova Scotia brought together the largest collection of Mi’kmaw recording artists ever assembled in one show. The showcase was titled “L’nuta’ql” or “it sounds indigenous”.
The idea behind the L'nuta'ql Music Showcase project was to create incentives and inspire artists to begin writing, recording and performing music featuring the Mi’kmaw language.
“All the recording artists recognized that we all need to do more for the language, including creating new music in the Mi’kmaw Language,” stated Artist director and co producer Jaime Battiste. “That was the main reason why many agreed to be a part of the Mi’kmaw Music Showcase”
“Our language is in crisis. We have less then a third of the Mi’kmaw nation able to speak our language”, said Chief Leroy Denny, Chair of Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, a major sponsor of the showcase. “We need to create incentives and more visibility of the language”.
In July, a contest was created asking aspiring artists to submit their music in hopes of winning a chance to perform during the showcase and record in a professional studio. The winner of the contest was SHiFT FROM THA 902, an up and coming hip hop artist with a hard, raw style driven flow. His distinctive voice and honest lyrics draw inspiration from his youth growing up in Wekoqmaq First Nation, Nova Scotia, a small reservation on Cape Breton Island.
"We would like to congratulate SHiFT FROM THA 902. This is a special opportunity for the artist and the community. We look forward to hearing the final recording”, said Scott Long President of Music Nova Scotia. “Music Nova Scotia will also be working with SHiFT FROM THA 902 as part of our Orchestrated Neighbours project and we are a proud partner of the L’nuta’ql project.”
Scott Ferguson, FMP Matrix producer & senior engineer will be working with SHiFT FROM THA 902 in recording a fully produced and engineered single featuring the Mi’kmaw language for the showcase. Also, a live album CD of the concert will be created by FMP Matrix so that anyone can access the new Mi’kmaw songs.
Derek Johnson, singer for The Relatives recalled that his mother, Margarette Johnson, affectionately known as “Dr. Granny”, always reminded him “We are Mi’kmaq, that’s who we are, don’t be embarrassed to speak the language”. During the show, the Relatives performed a new original for the first time in more then 12 years.
The show also included more then 10 Mi’kmaw recording artists from across the Atlantic. Included in the showcase were Richard Poullette of MorningStar, Hubert Francis of Eaglefeather as well as up and coming entertainers such as Kalolin Johnson of the Gentle Warrior project, Emma Stevens and 2nd Generation, to name a few.
There was also a tribute to Mi’kmaw Music icon the late Joey Gould, who inspired many of the current Mi’kmaw artists today.