Main Category

  • Treble Chorus
  • Treble Chorus AND Unison and Two-Part

Sub-Categories

  • A Capella
  • SSAA
  • Percussion
  • Choral
  • Canadian Poet/Songwriter
  • Female Poet
  • Arrangement

Language(s)

  • Vocables

Strong Women’s Song

Publisher: LAH Publications

Catalogue Number: LAH 29

Year: 2017

For: SSAA with Drum

Duration: 2:50

Commissioned by Nepean High School and Vocal Music teacher, Lee Carter but not yet premiered. This is setting of a song belonging to the Anishinaabe women who were imprisoned in the Kingston Penitentiary, who sang this song as a way of upholding and supporting one another, especially those in solitary confinement, at a time when their own spiritual practices were forbidden and many of the women imprisoned lost their lives to suicide. I approached my arrangement with the generous guidance of Algonquin Elder Annie Smith-St Georges, and also was granted permission to arrange it by Song-Keeper Joey Twins.

The music is meant to sound like the expanding branches of a tree that has taken root and grows with strength, representing the “reaching out” voices of the women that grow in strength and support. It is also my hope and intent that the arrangement of this song in this choral style can be a vehicle to bring cultures together, empower those who sing it, and shed light on this song’s history.

At the same time, I recognize the need to seek appropriate collaborations and performances and have not yet discovered whether this arrangement is an appropriate expression of alliance or not. With this arrangement I felt had an opportunity to help give voice to an important history. I also realize that I was motivated by own shock, horror, and feeling of powerlessness in response to the findings of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, and those feelings cultivated a desire within me to find and offer healing through this musical offering: a blending of styles guided by an Algonquin Elder and First-Nations performance collaborator.

HOWEVER, this is not my story to tell.

I include this in my catalogue with humility in the hopes of learning more and am committed to sharing the things I learn with others so we can all grow together to be better.

This arrangement has not yet been performed. If you wish to see a score and are interested in this piece, please contact me, and please also contact an Elder for protocol guidance. Collaboration with Indigenous musicians and inclusion of the song’s history are both mandatory for performance.

More information about this song can be found here: http://ojibwe.net/songs/womens-traditional/strong-womens-song/

“Please contact to learn more about this arrangement and the performance recommendations made to me by Algonquin Elder Annie Smith St-Georges.

Listen

Multi-track sample

Text

Phonetic vocables (credited to Anishinaabe women)