Wednesday, October 19, 2011

An Anishinabe Review of Haida Song

"New Journeys" Terri-Lynn

I don't know how music reviewers do it. Just last week I excitedly downloaded the latest album of my favourite artist, but I couldn't really "get into it" at first listen. Instead, I had to listen to it beginning to end at least four times before I could truly have a relationship with the music.

With Terri-Lynn's "New Journeys," it took mere minutes to forge a relationship with her songs.

I popped the CD in on one of the first cool days this fall. R.J. and I had just returned home after an afternoon of hiking (and filming! We're throwing around the idea of starting a vlog together) in the Gatineau Park. He read in the bedroom, and I started dinner by chopping vegetables in the kitchen.

New Journeys was the perfect soundtrack for cooking. Terri-Lynn's soft, yet haunting, voice and the rhythmic ebb and flow of the music guided my blade as it sliced through fall root vegetables. When we sat down to eat, with New Journeys on repeat, R.J. agreed that the music we listened to created a calm and quietly chipper kitchen environment. In this way, we both had a relationship with Terri-Lynn's music.

Haida art, particularly during the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver, has become one of the primary ways Canadians and people around the world essentialize and understand First Nations. New Journeys confuses what Canadians think they know about the Haida nation by combining some traditional sounds with a contemporary spin.

In addition to reading All That We Say Is Ours and visiting the Haida: Life. Spirit. Art. exhibit by Robert Davidson (also the site where I spotted the tall, gorgeous Terri-Lynn from afar!), New Journeys adds to this Anishinabekwe's education about the rich history and amazing artistry of Haida people.

And I look forward to continuing this learning journey (pun totally intended) to Terri-Lynn's soundtrack.


  1. Please be careful with using the term 'Haida' Art. The Haida live far from the area that the Four Host Nations live in. The art your are talking about with regards to the Olympics was likely Coast Salish, but I cannot say without really knowing what art you were seeing. Please do some more research and make sure the art you are talking about is Haida and not Coast Salish. Many use the term Northwest Coast Native art to encompass the various forms which are somewhat similar.



  2. Hi Eddy,

    Thanks for the enlightenment. According to your explanation, I probably should have used "Northwest Coast" art. Although I do know some BC artists living in Ottawa, I've never been that far west, but will definitely do my best not to essentialize in any future discussions.