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Sultans of String and Dr. Duke Redbird Release New Single “Our Mother the Earth”

Sultans of String and Dr. Duke Redbird Release New Single “Our Mother the Earth”

Our Mother the Earth’ is a collaboration between legendary Chippewa/Anishinaabe Elder Dr. Duke Redbird and Sultans of String. It is the third single of the upcoming album entitled ‘Walking Through the Fire’ (Sept 22, 2023 release), a CD and concert of collaborations with First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists across Turtle Island.

Redbird was inspired by the idea that every country has a national anthem, yet there is no anthem for Our Mother the Earth.  Redbird said, “if people included an anthem to the Earth along with their national anthem at every event, it would serve to acknowledge our identity, values, and sense of pride in the fact that we are all children of the Earth.”  With this idea in mind, he wrote the poem Our Mother the Earth. 

Our Mother the Earth

A Great Mystery

Created the Universe

And manifested a blue geosphere
A radiant planet

The marvelous Earth

The Mother who gave us birth

The genesis of all, we hold dear
With all the billions of stars in space

Only the Earth could create.

The perfect human birthing place
A little sphere of cosmic dust

Was the spark of spirit given to us (…) 

“We can use our imaginations, innovation, creativity, and capacity to evolve in a cooperative way with nature, in a symbiotic relationship.  The definition of love is when another entity’s happiness is essential to our own. Right now, the happiness of the Earth is not essential to those industries that are exploiting her resources purely for profit. When we realize that we, as humans, are born fully integrated with the spirit of the Earth… we will replace exploiting with exploring and begin to truly love her.”

Our Mother the Earth’ is co-produced by Chris McKhool, bandleader of multiple award-winning Sultans of String, Grammy winning engineer John “Beetle” Bailey, and guitarist Kevin Laliberté.  The bed tracks were recorded on Six Nations land at the Indigenous owned Jukasa Studios, a multi-million-dollar studio created for world class and developing artists to make music in surroundings rich in spirit and tradition.

McKhool was recently awarded the JAYU’s Dr. Duke Redbird Lifetime Achievement Award for his work with Truth and Reconciliation’s 94 Calls to Action.

Duke Redbird bio:

Website:  www.dukeredbird.ca

Dr. Duke Redbird is an Elder from the Saugeen Ojibway Nation, on the shores of Lake Huron. A celebrated Indigenous Visionary as well as an established public intellectual, poet, broadcaster, and filmmaker, Dr. Redbird is also a highly sought after keynote speaker. He is an Elder and Advisor to various public and private organizations, and his online presence brings his breadth of cultural knowledge and artistic practice to the benefit of a global audience.  His music and poetry has aided in the emergence of a vibrant Indigenous presence on the contemporary cultural scene. Dr. Redbird’s outstanding contribution to culture, literature, human rights, legacy stretches far beyond his work in Canada.

Sultans of String bio:

Website: https://sultansofstring.com  
Twitter: https://twitter.com/sultansofstring
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/sultansofstring

  • 2023 Canadian Folk Music Awards – winning Global Roots Album & Producer of the Year
  • 2023 Canadian Folk Music Awards – nominated Pushing the Boundaries & Contemporary Album
  • 2022 Dr. Duke Redbird Lifetime Achievement Award for McKhool – JAYU Arts For Human Rights
  • 2022 Folk Music Ontario – Song of the Year Winner – Mi Santuario
  • 2022 Folk Music Ontario – Nominated for Performer of the Year
  • 2022 Cannes World Film Festival – Best Musical Film
  • 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards winner for Producer of the Year with Refuge
  • 2021 Canadian Folk Music Awards nominee for Ensemble of the Year with Refuge

Equally at home in a concert hall, folk and jazz club or festival setting, 3x JUNO Award nominees Sultans of String have gigged at JUNOfest, the legendary club Birdland in New York, Celtic Connections Festival (Glasgow) and London’s Trafalgar Square. They have sold out Koerner Hall three times (Toronto’s Carnegie Hall), and performed with the Annapolis, Toronto, Vancouver, Edmonton Symphony Orchestras. They have played live on CBC’s Canada Live, BBC Radio, BBC TV, Irish National Radio, and the syndicated World Café, Woodsongs, and SiriusXM in Washington. Sultans of String’s musicianship and versatility are also showcased in collaborations with such diverse luminaries as Paddy Moloney & The Chieftains, Sweet Honey in The Rock, Richard Bona (Paul Simon), Alex Cuba, Ruben Blades, Yasmin Levy, Benoit Bourque, Béla Fleck, Crystal Shawanda & Ken Whiteley. 

UPCOMING SULTANS OF STRING TOUR DATES:

APR 01 – Feature Film: The Refuge Project at CFMAs, Vancouver,  CA
APR 15 – First Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, NE  
MAY 12 – Marble Arts Centre, Tweed ON
MAY 13 – Bancroft Village Playhouse, Bancroft ON
MAY 14 – Bryan Jones Theatre, Lakefield College, Lakefield, ON 
MAY 26 – Brockville Arts Centre, Brockville, ON 
JUN 24 – Mississauga World Music Festival 
JUN 24 – Old Church Theatre, Trenton ON

ALL TIX LINKS AT: https://sultansofstring.com/calendar/

CHRIS TALKS MORE ABOUT UPCOMING ALBUM “WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE”:

Our Mother Earth is the third single off our upcoming Sultans of String album entitled Walking Through the Fire, the most ambitious and important project of our career, a CD and concert of collaborations with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit artists across Turtle Island.

We are creating this recording concert in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, and Final Report that asks for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to work together as an opportunity to show a path forward. We know that as a society we can’t move ahead without acknowledging and reflecting on the past. Before reconciliation can occur, the full truth of the Indigenous experience in this country needs to be told, so we’ve been calling on Indigenous artists to share with us their stories, their experience, and their lives, so we settler Canadians can continue our learning about the history of residential schools, of genocide, and of inter-generational impacts of colonization.

For this project, we are working with Indigenous artists including Chippewa/Anishinaabe Elder and poet collaborator Dr. Duke Redbird, who says

“The place that we have to start is with truth. Reconciliation will come sometime way in the future, perhaps, but right now, truth is where we need to begin the journey with each other. As human beings, we have to acquire that truth.”

Several other Indigenous musicians, designers and filmmakers are guiding us on this project, including designer Mark Rutledge working with designer Kurt Firla, and Indigenous filmmakers and videographers Eliza Knockwood and Marc Merilainen along with videographer Micah Sky.

We also met with the Honourable Murray Sinclair, Ojibwe Elder and former chair of the Truth & Reconciliation Commission to speak about the project, who reflected;

“The very fact that you’re doing this tells me that you believe in the validity of our language, you believe in the validity of our art and our music and that you want to help to bring it out. And that’s really what’s important, is for people to have faith that we can do this… That’s really good”

WHO IS ON THE FULL ALBUM “WALKING THROUGH THE FIRE”?

  • Crystal Shawanda – Ojibwe Potawatomi Singer-Songwriter
  • Don Ross – Mi’kmaw Guitarist
  • Dr. Duke Redbird – Chippewa/Anishinaabe Elder and Poet
  • The North Sound – with Forrest Eaglespeaker  – Blackfoot Singer-Songwriter & Nevada Freistadt
  • Kendra Tagoona & Tracy Sarazin – Inuit Throat Singers
  • Leanne Taneton – Dene Spoken Word
  • Leela Gilday – Dene Singer-Songwriter
  • Marc Meriläinen (Nadjiwan) – Ojibwe/Finnish Singer-Songwriter
  • Métis Fiddler Quartet
  • MJ Dandeneau – Métis Bassist
  • Northern Cree – Pow Wow group
  • Digging Roots – with Raven Kanatakta – Anishinabe Algonquin / Onkwehón:we Mohawk – Songwriter, Singer, Guitar, and Sho-Shona Kish – Anishinaabekwe Ojibway
  • Shannon Thunderbird – Tsm’syen Elder Singer-Songwriter & Kate Dickson – Tsm’syen Singer

And Sultans of String band regulars Chris McKhool (violin), Kevin Laliberté (guitar), Drew Birston (bass), Rosendo ‘Chendy’ Leon (drums and percussion) and Rebecca Campbell (vocals).

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About The Author

MUSKRAT Magazine

MUSKRAT is an on-line Indigenous arts, culture magazine that honours the connection between humans and our traditional ecological knowledge by exhibiting original works and critical commentary. MUSKRAT embraces both rural and urban settings and uses media arts, the Internet, and wireless technology to investigate and disseminate traditional knowledges in ways that inspire their reclamation.

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