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November 2, 2015, TORONTO – SPEAKeasy Collective presents Songs in the Key of Cree, a one-time musical tribute to the multitalented Cree playwright, author, storyteller and musician Tomson Highway on December 12 and 13, 2015, at Hugh’s Room (2261 Dundas St. W). The evening will showcase the musical achievements and unique wit that have garnered Highway fans around the world.

A master pianist, composer and songwriter with a repertoire spanning three decades, Highway’s music takes inspiration from a wide range of styles, including country, Brazilian samba, jazz and French Canadian folk songs with influences of Cole Porter and Kurt Weill. In addition to his Order of Canada, the JUNO-nominated performer was named one of the 100 most important people in Canadian history by Maclean’s magazine.

Highway will be joined on stage with musical director and pianist John Alcorn, saxophonist Marcus Ali, and performers Micah Barnes, Laura Hubert, Teresa Castonguay, Jani Lauzon and Patricia Cano. More performers will be announced soon.

Tomson achieved international recognition in 1986 for his sixth play, the multi-award winning The Rez Sisters, followed by the equally successful Dry Lips, Oughta Move to Kapuskasing. Both won the Dora Mavor Moore Award. Other notable plays and cabarets include The Sage, The Dancer and The Fool,The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito and The (Post) Mistress. He has criss-crossed the world conducting lectures, readings and musical performances, with accompaniment and as a solo performer.

Songs in the Key of Cree

Performers: Tomson Highway, John Alcorn, Marcus Ali, Micah Barnes, Laura Hubert, Teresa Castonguay, Jani Lauzon, Patricia Cano, Morgan Childs, David Restivo, Steve Wallace.
Dates: Saturday, December 12 & Sunday, December 13th
Show time: 8:30 PM
Tickets: $22.50 Advance – $25.00 Door / 416.531.6604

Songs in the Key of Cree is presented by the SPEAKeasy Collective with generous support from the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council.

For more biographical information on Tomson Highway’s, please visit

John Alcorn ~ Musical Director/Performer
Recognized as one of Canada’s premier jazz vocalists, John Alcorn is an award winning composer, lyricist, musical director and arranger. John was musical director of Highway’s premiere presentation of ROSE, the concert cabaret.

Marcus Ali ~ Saxophone
One of Toronto’s top horn players, Ali has performed in countless shows in Canada and internationally. Ali tours worldwide with Tomson Highway performing in both the Cree Cabaret and The (Post) Mistress musical production.

Patricia Cano ~ Vocals
Making her mark on the global stage, Patricia Cano has a presence of a Broadway star with a voice that is smooth, intense and a little bit sweet. She frequently performs with Tomson Highway as lead vocalist with the Cree Cabaret, The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito and The (Post) Mistress. Her debut album, THIS IS THE NEW WORLD, is influenced by traditional South American folk forms including Samba and Afro-Peruvian rhythms.

Teresa Castonguay ~ Vocals
Teresa Castonguay has puttered around music festivals, bands, theatres and other arts organizations for way too long! From Thunder Bay’s Magnus Theatre to Theatre Calgary, to the Shaw Festival to the Ontario Arts Council, she has acted, sung, directed, stuffed envelopes, washed costumes, managed… done pretty much all the glamourous and gritty jobs in the entertainment world! Some of her best years were spent being mesmerized by Tomson Highway while managing Native Earth – she was rewarded with a song in the first workshop of Rose.

Morgan Childs ~ Percussion
Award winning drummer Morgan Childs has built an international career as a performer and educator with some of the world’s finest musicians. He is highly regarded among his peers for his deep swing feel, sensitivity, versatility and musicality, as well as his reverence for jazz history and wide-ranging musical vocabulary. Morgan is also a noted composer and bandleader. His groups have been frequently featured on CBC radio shows Hot Air, Tonic, and JazzBeat.

Micah Barnes ~ Vocals
A well loved singer-songwriter, Micah has performed with the A Capella Pop group The Nylons, launched a hugely successful solo career and recently has shot to the top of the Jazz charts with his latest collection, NEW YORK STORIES. Micah Barnes is a long time Highway family member and also performed in the original cabaret presentation of ROSE.

Laura Hubert ~ Vocals
A singer of ‘old songs’, Laura Hubert is known for her eclectic repertoire of standards, blues and western swing. She is most famous as co-founder and lead vocalist of the award winning, indie-rock group, Leslie Spit Treeo. Laura delivers with passion and style!

Jani Lauzon ~ Vocals
A Dora Mavor Moore nominated actress, a JUNO nominated singer/songwriter, a Gemini Award winning puppeteer and an award winning screen actor, Jani Lauzon has countless theatre, film and radio credits. Lauzon is also a producer, filmmaker, director with three current theatre productions in rotation and three independent music recordings. She has performed in a number of Rez Sisters’ productions and was a featured performer in the original cabaret presentation of ROSE. Jani Lauzon is a superb, passionate, powerhouse singer.

David Restivo ~ Guest Piano
David Restivo is one of Canada’s most respected and influential jazz artists. A pianist, percussionist and composer, he is a 3-time winner of the National Jazz Awards’ Keyboardist of the Year Award, and is listed in the current edition of Canadian Who’s Who.

Steve Wallace ~ Bass
Steve Wallace is regarded by many as the most powerful bass player that Canada has produced. This award winning musician is almost certainly the most experienced, having begun working with visiting jazz greats in Toronto clubs such as Bourbon Street, Lytes, and George’s Spaghetti House while he was still in his twenties. He has performed and toured with many greats such as Harry ‘Sweets’ Edison, Eddie ‘Lockjaw’ Davis, Pepper Adams, Rob McConnell’s ‘The Boss Brass’, Woody Herman’s All Stars and the Oscar Peterson’s Trio

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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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