Teionkhiyà:taton (2022) means Sky Dwellers in Kanièkéha
(Mohawk). These sky dwellers are spirits that watch over us as we travel. We are encouraged to be on this journey with a good mind or kanikònrí:io. Living with a good mind includes the practice of strength, power and courage while maintaining peace with all our relations. The work was written during a composition and recording workshop that I led under the direction of Jan Kahetí:io Longboat as part of her project “Dotah’s House” on Six Nations Mohawk Territory. Her healing projects focused on reacculturation for women across Ontario that suffered residential school and inter-generational abuses. I wrote the words in Kaniènkéha, as part of our language initiative, in collaboration with participant/singer Ginger Yehnenyehs White and additional guidance from Mohawk language scholar and professor Frank Tehahèn:te Miller - both residents of the Six Nations Mohawk reserve in Canada.
The piece is introduced with dissonant layering of entrances by the choir interchanged with spoken words and proceeds to a tonal melody accompanied by a rattle. Some of the rattle patterns come from those used to accompany the Haudenosaunee women’s songs. The piece concludes with a coda sung in unison in reflection of the strong endings in traditional women’s songs. This work is based on an earlier work entitled My Life With You on the “50 Shades of Red” recording that won several Global Music Awards.
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