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Songs in the Key of Cree

Lynx Lamour Goes to Nashville

by Tomson Highway

Tansi !!!

Lynx Lamour Goes to Nashville is a new country and western musical written and composed by acclaimed Cree playwright Tomson Highway. The show is about Lynx Lamour, a young Cree woman from sub-Arctic Manitoba, who goes out into the world to sing her heart out. Against all odds, she achieves her dreams. The world falls in love and will never been the same.

This project is being developed over the course of three years (2018-2020) through a series of theatre residencies, First Nations community engagements, and artistic and academic collaborations in Manitoba, Saskatchewan, and Ontario. The song lyrics are performed in Woods Cree.

Please follow our website for details about our upcoming Spring 2019 tour to Winnipeg and First Nations communities in Manitoba. 

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"Reading Tomson Highway is like listening to your Kohkum speak Cree to you. It bounces in your body like water hitting rocks, tickling your ribs and poking you in the solar plexus. It makes you remember things you haven't thought of in years."

Cliff Cardinal, actor and playwright

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Keeyaapich mista-i

An arts-based Indigenous language revitalization project

Songs in the Key of Cree connects achimoowin, ayamoowin, and paapoowin (language, story-telling, and laughter). Building on the talents and expertise of our organizational partners, and Indigenous knowledge holders and speakers, the project incorporates community-based research into the history of language loss and revitalization, and contributes to the development of multi-media language and cultural materials. With the activities that accompany the project—including beadwork, theatre and music workshops, digital language lessons, radio airplay, multi-media stories and oral histories—Songs in the Key of Cree highlights the global importance of Indigenous languages.

Songs in the Key of Cree partners with Indigenous organizations at the forefront of language revitalization efforts in Canada: the Saskatchewan Indigenous Cultural Centre, the Manitoba First Nations Education Resource Centre, and the Ojibway and Cree Cultural Centre. Our academic partners include the University of Waterloo and the University of Guelph.

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Indigenous languages are critically endangered throughout the world. This is more than a loss of words and laughter: Indigenous languages embody sets of relationships and ways of being in the world that are powerful, transformative, and sometimes very funny.

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In 2018, our first year focused on the creation and performance of 12 new Cree songs, developed in Saskatoon with the support of the Gordon Tootoosis Nīkānīwin Theatre. With our Saskatoon-based musicians —Krystle Pederson, Lancelot Knight, Daniel Knight, Emma Thorpe, and Robert Turner—we toured these songs to Saskatchewan First Nations communities.

Now in our second year, we have moved the project to Manitoba! With a band that includes Manitoban musicians— Andrina Turenne, Nathan Halcrow, Liam Allan and Junior Clarke. In association with the Royal Manitoba Theatre Centre, we are developing the show into a cabaret-style format. This spring, it will tour the province with performances in Misipawistik (Grand Rapids), Opaskwayak (The Pas), Norway House, Cross Lake, Nisichawayasihk (Nelson House), Thompson, Brochet, Brandon and a final show at the Tom Hendry Warehouse Theatre in Winnipeg on June 13, 2019.

Next year, the work will be transformed into a full-scale musical.

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Indigenous peoples have the right to revitalize, use, develop and transmit to future generations their histories, languages, oral traditions, philosophies, writing systems and literatures, and to designate and retain their own names for communities, places and persons.


Article 13, United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples

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