Centretown United Church507 Bank St.

Song and Story:
An evening with
Tomson Highway

Presented in partnership with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women - Ottawa chapter
Hosted by CBC’s Adrian Harewood
"Tomson Highway's prose is beautiful, lyrical... Emotionally complex, witty, symphonic and sad.
— The Vancouver Sun
Patricia Cano
Tomson Highway - Photo courtesy of Sean Howard

Join us for an unforgettable evening of song and story with playwright, novelist, and pianist/songwriter Tomson Highway, winner of the National Aboriginal Achievement Award and Member of the Order of Canada.

Tomson's musical performance with Patricia Cano will be followed by a conversation with CBC’s Adrian Harewood.

He speaks fluent Cree (his mother tongue), French, and English, though his Spanish is fast catching up. As well, having been trained by extraordinary teachers as a classical musician, he plays the piano "fluently." In fact, he enjoys, as often as he can, combining his many lectures and readings around the world with performances at the piano with songs that he himself has written–both music and lyrics. Many of these songs, in fact, are written with Cree lyrics -- Cree jazz? Cree cabaret? Cree Kurt Weill? 

Tomson’s latest publication, From Oral to Written , is a study of Native literature published in Canada between 1980 and 2010, a catalogue of amazing books that sparked the embers of a dormant voice. In the early 1980s, that voice rose up to overcome the major obstacle Native people have as writers: they are not able to write in their own Native languages, but have to write in the languages of the colonizer, languages that simply cannot capture the magic of Native mythology, the wild insanity of Trickster thinking. 

From Oral to Written is the story of the Native literary tradition, written - in multiple Aboriginal languages, in French, and in English - by a brave, committed, hard-working, and inspired community of exceptional individuals - from the Haida Nation on Haida Gwaii to the Mi'kmaq of Nova Scotia's Cape Breton Island. 

This special evening is presented in partnership with the Canadian Council of Muslim Women - Ottawa chapter as part of its long-running Books and Biryani salons. This annual series celebrates great literature and provocative ideas. This latest installment is the third in a theme of reconciliation which seeks to build stronger connections between cultural communities and a greater understanding of First Nations culture and history.

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