Songs in the Key of Cree

1hr. 10min.


"English is so hierarchical. In Cree, we don't have animate-inanimate comparisons between things. Animals have souls that are equal to ours. Rocks have souls, trees have souls. Trees are 'who,' not 'what." -Tomson Highway Songs in the Key of Cree is a compilation of songs written over the past thirty years by Cree-Canadian playwright/ songwriter/pianist Tomson Highway. The twelve songs in the show are taken from five of his musicals - Rose, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito, The (Post) Mistress, The Sage, the Dancer, and the Fool and his latest new musical as yet to be titled. What makes the songs unique is their Cree lyrics. Cree is the most spoken Native language in Canada today, and many of Canada's most well-known place names are of Cree origin including Winnipeg, Manitoba, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Chicoutimi, Quebec and Ottawa. Cree is a very rhythmic language that lends itself very naturally to music and music-making, and the style of the music is "cabaret." Think Cole Porter and Kurt Weill...with Cree lyrics. Which is not to say that many songs will be sung in English as well. And some in French. (Mr. Highway is tri-lingual in Cree, his mother tongue, and French and English.)

UK Premiere