Ispiciwin is an album that contributes to the National Reconciliation that is taking place between Indigenous peoples and Canada as a whole. Twelve contemporary works for choir by composers from, or inspired by, the First Nations share the program of this album, in which an atmosphere of gentleness and contemplation hangs over all the pieces. There are a few rough edges in these choral scores, the majority of which reflect affinities with the universe of today’s choral composers such as Eric Whitacre or Bob Chilcott. Andrew Balfour’s title track, Ispiciwin (which means “journey” in Cree), stands out, however, where delicate guitar (Walter MacDonald White Bear) and bass flute (Jessica McMann) accompaniments, as well as various traditional percussion instruments (also Walter MacDonald White Bear), lend a sometimes folk-like, sometimes visually evocative colour to the three-movement work. The last two pieces, by Sherryl Sewepagaham, Okawîmâw Askiy (Mother Earth) and Picikîsksîs, are also particularly appreciated: beautiful evocations of traditional songs.
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