CD Review | Ispiciwin (Leaf Music, 2023)

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Luminous Voices chamber choir; Andrew Balfour, composer
Leaf Music, October 2023

In the company of the Luminous Voices vocal ensemble (under the direction of Timothy Shantz), Andrew Balfour presents a new album of compositions inspired by Cree texts. Ispiciwin, which means “journey” in Cree, takes us on musical and vocal strolls through cultures and traditions, with the help of renowned artists: Jessica McMann (from the Cowessess First Nation in Saskatchewan) on bass flute, and Walter MacDonald White Bear (from the Moose Factory First Nation in Ontario) on Indigenous flute and guitar.

This cross-cultural journey features works by Arthur Bachmann, Stuart Beatch, Carmen Braden, Laura Hawley, Walter MacDonald White Bear, Jessica McMann, Sherryl Sewepagaham and Zachary Wadsworth.

This is as much an artistic project as it is a personal reflection by Toronto composer Balfour, a Cree member of the Fisher River First Nation, on artistic reconciliation and the healing work involved in truly healing the wounds of the past. Using Cree texts as material for original choral music creations, Balfour (who is also a conductor, singer and sound designer) achieves a “dream collaboration.” He looked forward to doing this work with Luminous Voices, whose members include some of the finest ensemble voices in the Calgary region. The choir’s 2015 recording of Mendelssohn’s Te Deum won Canada Choral’s Best Choral Recording Award in 2016.

This page is also available in / Cette page est également disponible en: Francais (French)


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