Roundup: I Lost My Talk

I Lost My Talk performanceIt’s been a while since I’ve done any arts reporting, but this is an exception. Last night I had the good fortune to attend the world premiere of I Lost My Talk, the new original composition commissioned by the family of former Prime Minister Joe Clark as a gift for his 75th birthday. The composition is based on the poem of the same name by Rita Joe, considered the “poet laureate of the Mi’kmaq” people, and it deals with a people losing their language and subsequently culture thanks to the legacy of residential schools. The evening was marked by a talk on Art and Reconciliation, led by Dr. Marie Wilson of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, followed by the performance of the work itself. Presented along with other works about the endurance of the spirit – Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 9 in E-flat Major, Korngold’s Violin Concerto in D Major, Op.35, and John Williams’ theme from Schindler’s List, I Lost My Talk was the final performance of the evening. It was presented along with a video projection of a dance performance, also created to accompany the work. While one may not be sure how to turn a very tight poem of a few lines into an eighteen minute musical piece that is done without lyrics – lines of the poem recited intermittently through the piece – it was done perfectly. The composition itself was like an epic score to the poem, that was cinematic in scope and feel, the film and the choreography therein were wonderfully realized, and visually arresting. In total, it’s a powerful new work of Canadian composition that takes on the themes of reconciliation, bringing elements of the Indigenous conversation to more European art forms, and creates something powerful of them together. It was stated in the talk beforehand that reconciliation is not an Indigenous problem – it’s a Canadian one, where all of our society needs to participate. This work is part of that conversation, and reconciliation. One can think of no greater gift to a former Prime Minister like Joe Clark than the one that his family commissioned for him with I Lost My Talk. That the National Arts Centre is carrying on and extending the work with more First Nations artists creates a broader dialogue for the work, and the ongoing project or reconciliation.

Joe Clark – Art & Reconciliation Panel

Good reads:

  • Chrystia Freeland says that the TPP can’t be renegotiated, that it’s just a yes or no at this point. NDP critics respond with “Hillary Clinton said so!”
  • Justin Trudeau says he’s optimistic about diversifying the economy, and points to Google’s expansion into Canada.
  • Ruh-roh! The Chamber of Commerce says that the much-vaunted changes to our immigration system aren’t working and are hampered by protectionism.
  • Jane Philpott says the healthcare system needs reform, not just more money.
  • More major problems with the Shared Services email transformation project. You don’t say!
  • Kevin O’Leary is contemplating a run at the Conservative leadership, because of course he is. He also insists he’s not Donald Trump.
  • The Canadian Forces may opt to lease support ships rather than build new ones, while it looks like the C-130Js are out as new search-and-rescue planes.
  • Here’s a great look at our general civic ignorance when it comes to the Crown.
  • Aaron Wherry notes the Conservative penchant for contradicting their positions of late.
  • Michael Den Tandt makes the case for a Kevin O’Leary Conservative leadership bid.
  • Mark Sutcliffe makes all the right arguments about the status quo when it comes to electoral reform.

Odds and ends:

Some curators at the Museum of History had ethical objections to the purchase of artefacts from the Empress of Ireland.

Ed Broadbent’s third wife passed away yesterday.

Paul Wells smacks Andrew Cohen about the face and neck for his mockery of Ottawa, and it’s a great read.

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