Featuring 24 archival recordings from across Canada, as well as field recordings from private research collections, Welta’q – “it sounds good”: Historic Recordings of the Mi’kmaq showcases the vibrant musical life of the Mi’kmaq. Through a collection of traditional Mi’kmaw songs, songs by the first Mi’kmaw powwow drum group, and hymns and anthems, Welta’q presents historically significant materials for the understanding of Mi’kmaw culture and heritage.
“The diversity of musical genres included on this CD challenges any narrowly conceived notion of what Mi’kmaw music is,” says Dr. Janice Esther Tulk, Welta’q Producer and Ethnomusicologist, CBU. “Further, the inclusion of the story of Mi’kmwesu – a flute-playing trickster in Mi’kmaw culture – demonstrates the inclusiveness of the Mi’kmaw concept for music. Welta’q means “it sounds good” and can extend beyond music to other aspects of expressive culture, such as story-telling performances.”
“While many of the songs on this CD will be recognizable to community members, and some even to the broader population, many of these performances were not widely known prior to the consultation process. By releasing them to the public, we hope to preserve and celebrate Mi’kmaw culture, while also providing historic source material to inspire future generations of Mi’kmaq.”
The recordings included on Welta’q were drawn from collections across Canada, including Cape Breton University’s Beaton Institute. “By sharing the collection that the Beaton has to offer, a window is open that allows us to understand, compare, analyze and educate today by understanding and knowing our past,” says Catherine Arseneau, Manager of the Beaton Institute. “We were pleased to have been involved with this project because it promotes a quest for knowledge.”
Welta’q, which includes a 60-page booklet, also features textual and musical transcriptions of the songs, translations of Mi’kmaw texts, extensive notes that contextualize each selection, photographs, and discussion of Mi’kmaw musical instruments and dance styles. In fact, some selections on Welta’q feature dialects, pronunciations, and even words that are no longer common among Mi’kmaq speakers.
Following a successful CD launch in Newfoundland in October, the Nova Scotia launch of Welta’q – “it sounds good”: Historic Recordings of the Mi’kmaq will take place on Wednesday, December 2, from 4:00 – 6:00 p.m. in the Multi-Purpose Room of the Student, Culture & Heritage Centre at Cape Breton University. Featuring a captivating performance by Joel Denny, whose mother Sarah Denny is acknowledged on the CD for her work in cultural revitalization, the launch will provide a special glimpse into Mi’kmaw culture.