Jeremy Dutcher is Reclaiming Tradition Through His Music

Classically trained in instruments like piano and drums, Jeremy Dutcher studied Music and Anthropology at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He is a talented Tenor vocalist, composer and musicologist. Jeremy hails from the First Nation People in New Brunswick, Tobique. He is a firm advocate for the Indigenous languages that are currently dying out and because of that, he dropped an album titled, Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, where most of the songs are in the Walasktoq language.

Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa premiered on the Billboard website on April 5th, 2018 and since then, his music has gained much attention in the Canadian scene to the point of according recognition in the form of the Polaris Prize Win in 2018 and the Juno Award for Indigenous Music Album of the Year 2019. This is very new and fresh in the music industry where we seldom see Indigenous music in their language. Jeremy remarks that “Singing songs in this land (Canada), is a way to reclaim it and say like we’re still here, this is our music, and this has been ours for generations”.

Dedicated to his craft and his album, Jeremy dedicated countless hours going through and studying recorded Wolastoqiyik traditional chants on wax cylinders done by anthropologist William Mechling from 1907 to 1914. He realized that the art of improvisation was big with his ancestors and that Indigenous music now had less and he wanted to bring it back. He meshed different styles of music like jazz music, opera music and traditional chant music. To this unusual blend of music styles, he said that although they don’t often speak to each other or fit together, he sees it as his role to turn them to each other and have a conversation. This is such an innovative and intriguing way of making music and we respect Jeremy for not only thinking outside the box but also having the courage and boldness to make it happen and then put it out there for people to listen and allows them to criticize. His novelty paid off as his awards demonstrate.

The reason why he keeps writing music in the Indigenous language and style is to “spur other young people to think about lineage and history in the music that they make today”. Such inspiring words from an equally inspiring and talented artist!

Check out Jeremy’s music on Spotify, Google Play Music, Deezer, YouTube and TuneIn and give him support on his website. He is currently on tour and will be in Ottawa on September 5th, 2019 7:30 pm at the National Art Centre.

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