This musical work represents a coming together of cultural traditions and inspirational messages of reverence and hope.
Titled “New Journeys” after the second track on the CD “Have a Light Heart on Your New Journey” it speaks to a new journey for the Haida musical traditions, a new journey bringing musical traditions together, and a personal new journey for Terri-Lynn who spends most of her time as lawyer and General Counsel for the Haida Nation.
Terri-Lynn and producer Bruce Ruddell have worked together before, and their work has been recognized with Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards for their collaborative efforts in recording and archiving over 450 Haida traditional songs in the Haida Gwaii Singers archival box set and additional songs in a second contemporary box set. Finishing that project was the culmination of an obsession that began for Terri-Lynn when she was 13 – and which lasted over 30 years.
This was an important part of the path that has brought Terri-Lynn to this new CD release. While it was difficult to secure sufficient funding for archiving all of the songs, she took out personal loans to complete the project. “I felt it was really important to complete the project and present the treasure box of songs. In fact, I did not think that I could record a personal CD until that responsibility of helping to ensure the ancient songs survived was complete,” notes Terri-Lynn.
In approaching this new work now, Terri-Lynn is striving to keep tradition alive by introducing something new. She has written: A responsibility of aboriginal artists, storytellers or singers is to keep the knowledge alive, and if need be, to change the ceremonies or bring new creations into the world so that the knowledge remains relevant to people. To remain static denies the creativity and genius that flows from the Creator.
“For New Journeys, I trusted Bruce to create a classic, musical bridge from one culture to another.” explains Terri-Lynn. “I find Haida songs very beautiful, and hope that instrumentation will help others experience their beauty and connect to the music in a way that may not possible with Haida music in a more traditional format.”
Most of the songs on the CD are original compositions – by Terri-Lynn and her husband Robert Davidson, and there are two traditional songs as well.
From a lyrical perspective, Terri-Lynn notes, “My original vision for the CD was for it to be an inspirational CD. I recorded the songs with this in mind. When the music was completed we realized that it could not be solely classified as, or limited to, an inspirational CD. You will see references to this in the liner notes which I hope will help people to use the music to connect to spirit and to connect to their own spirit.” — You can see the liner notes in this gallery.
On the musical arrangement side, Bruce was inspired by the songs themselves, “The songs that Terri-Lynn and Robert have composed are like Haida visual art; a distillation of musical ideas. Several of the songs have no more than three notes and yet they hold a listener’s attention for the full length of the song. I have tried to do the same with the arrangements,” notes Bruce.
“I lived with Terri-Lynn’s demos for a while and just let ideas for the arrangements float into my consciousness. When I listen back to the masters I realize that I have been deeply influenced on this project by two very different composers: Arvo Part and Gil Evans.”
“I am deeply honoured to have been asked to collaborate with Terri-Lynn and Robert on this album. It was an extremely brave step for them to ask someone from other traditions to take their music and expand on it. Neither Terri-Lynn nor Robert ever made any comments about how their songs should be treated. They very graciously and quietly allowed me to write whatever I felt was necessary for each of the pieces. And when I presented my ideas they supported me unequivocally. What a gift this project has been.”