Indigenous youth find their voices, share their stories & celebrate their talents with the Rita Joe Song Project (NAC)

« In her autobiography, Rita Joe challenges indigenous youth to find their voices, share their stories, and celebrate their talents.

Inspired by this idea, we asked the teachers and students in five communities across Canada to create a song based on what “I Lost My Talk” means to them and their community.

With the help of their teachers and guest artists, each group of young people [sent] a professional audio recording and a music video of their song to the NAC to be showcased in tandem with the January 2016 premiere of composer John Estacio’s new work, “Spirit Prevails,” based on Rita Joe’s poem.

I Lost My Talk
by Rita Joe

I lost my talk
The talk you took away.
When I was a little girl
At Shubenacadie school.

You snatched it away:
I speak like you
I think like you
I create like you
The scrambled ballad, about my word.

Two ways I talk
Both ways I say,
Your way is more powerful.

So gently I offer my hand and ask,
Let me find my talk
So I can teach you about me. »

Visit the NAC website to learn more about the Rita Joe Song Project and the songs created by youth in Eskasoni (NS), Edmonton (AB), Norway House (MB), Iqaluit (NU), and Kitigan Zibi (QC).

Posted with permission from Carl Martin, National Arts Centre
VIDEO: Students from Kitigan Zibi discuss their experience participating in the National Arts Centre’s Rita Joe Song Project.
Courtesy of the National Arts Centre.

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