In Honour of National Indigenous Peoples Day, Association for Opera in Canada is delighted to feature Deantha Edmunds, one of Canada’s busiest classical singers, and among the most prolific emerging creators of performance and new media works. Deantha is widely recognized as the first Inuk professional classical singer.
Read these recent articles about Deantha Edmunds from the Inuit Art Foundation:
March 6, 2023: Deantha Edmunds on 5 of her Most Iconic Musical Performances
March 31, 2023 How Deantha Edmunds Weaves Activism into her Work
Stratford Summer Music Festival : You can catch Deantha performing one of her newest works, Angmalukisaa, On July 20, 2023, featured in the opening performance of the Stratford Summer Music Festival. Get tickets
Persistence Theatre Company: Deantha will be starring in Stolen Sisters, a one-woman show written and directed by Leahdawn Helena, in a 25+ stop, 4-month tour throughout Newfoundland and Labrador. Find more info here.
Works in Development:
Among her many upcoming projects, watch for:
Sedna is Drowning
“Sedna is Drowning” is an intergenerational project inspired by the legend of Sedna, the Goddess of the Sea. The project aims to shed light on two important causes: protecting water and raising awareness about Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women, Girls, and Two-Spirit People (MMIWG2S+).
The legend of Sedna states that if her gifts are unappreciated and she is not honored with gratitude, she will withhold the hunt. The project’s creator wrote a poem set in the near future where Sedna is immobile, sunk, lost, and powerless due to mistreatment, paralleling the pollution and exploitation of water resources and the plight of MMIWG2S+.
The project involves collaboration with young Inuk artist Ella Jacque, who learned grasswork art from her grandmother. Jacque will teach the project’s creator, along with two throat singers named Jennie Williams and Amena Harlick, the art of seagrass weaving.
The ultimate vision for the project is to create a video filmed by the ocean, incorporating the soundscape of water rippling among the voices and showcasing the seagrass pieces created. Through this intergenerational artistic exchange, the project seeks to illuminate a hopeful future and inspire others to join the call for change.
Panik & Ki’kwa’ju (In partnership with Shelley MacDonald, filmmaker of Mi’kmaw and Scottish ancestry)
Panik & Ki’kwa’ju reimagines Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf, through storytelling, solo and choral music, and dance. It is in collaboration with Christina Jarvis Murray and Xara Choral Theatre in Halifax, Mi’kmaw dancer/choreographer Sarah Prosper, Mi’kmaw visual artist Alan Syliboy, and script by Mi’kmaw actor/writer Lara Lewis. Deantha and her 12 year old daughter, Annabelle Edmunds-Ramsay, will be lead actors and soloists. It is a new story about our relationships to the land, to one another, and to the hard work of reconciliation.
Panik & Ki’kwa’ju is a featurette film and will be distributed widely to music teachers across Turtle Island.
Deantha is planning to create and produce an album of experimental/ambient music, called akungani, meaning ‘in between.’ This work would float between musical genres, vocal traditions, Inuktitut and English, natural elements and soundscapes, acoustic, electric, and digital instruments, emotions, and perceptions. The songs will be created in collaboration with Deantha’s brother David Edmunds, who shares her passion and appreciation for music-making. Since their early childhood, they have written songs together and performed at family gatherings. They are thrilled that this project gives them the chance to create something unique and meaningful for public release. The goal is that akungani will be pitched to film and tv companies, as well as live performance opportunities.
In this work, Deantha is exploring a new style: poetic vocal melodies sung in a more contemporary style, with some traditional Inuit ajaja and including katajjaq. These vocals will be fused, and mixed with electric guitar, digital musical instruments, and soundscapes from nature.
akungani will be a creative collaboration with Deantha’s brother, guitarist David Edmunds, together forming the first Inuit brother-sister musical duo in this realm of music, and award-winning audio engineer and multi-instrumentalist Michelle LaCour.
For more information about Deantha Edmunds, and to be in touch: