Stage Door News

Toronto: Tomson Highway launches his new album “Cree Country” on May 23

Monday, April 25, 2022

Celebrated Indigenous playwright, author and musician Tomson Highway will host a special event on May 23, 2022 at the Horseshoe Tavern to celebrate the release of Cree Country, a collection of 12 new country songs in the Cree language from one of Canada’s most prolific artistic innovators. Cree Country, produced by the award-winning John Alcorn, was released in April 2022 and is now available on all streaming platforms.

Written by Tomson Highway and sung by the incomparable Patricia Cano, Cree Country features a spectacular band including the very best of Canadian country players such as Mike (Pepe) Francis, John Dymond, Steve O Connor, Sean O Grady, Don Reed, and Steve Smith. The compelling tunes on Cree Country speak of real life, love, longing, devotion, connection with nature, and the courage it takes to strive for your goals.

Tomson Highway recalls living in the Manitoba bush in the 1950s and hanging a transistor radio high in the trees at night to hear country music waft north all the way from Nashville, Tennessee. The joy of hearing that music is the inspiration behind these tunes.

“English is so hierarchical. In Cree, we don't have animate-inanimate comparisons between things. Animals have souls that are equal to ours. Rocks have souls, trees have souls. Trees are 'who,' not 'what.” said Tomson Highway.

Tomson Highway was born in a snowbank on the Manitoba/Nunavut border to a family of nomadic caribou hunters. He enjoys an international career as playwright, novelist, pianist, and songwriter. Tomson Highway’s many awards include the 2022 Governor General’s Performing Arts Award for Lifetime Artistic Achievement, the 2021 Writers’ Trust top Canadian non-fiction award for his biography Permanent Astonishment, the Dora Mavor Moore Award for Best New Play and Best Production (three wins, five nominations), the Governor General's Literary Award for Drama (two nominations), the Floyd S. Chalmers Canadian Play Award (two wins), the Toronto Arts Award (for outstanding contributions made over the years to the City of Toronto cultural industries), the Wang Harbourfront International Festival of Authors Award, the National Aboriginal Achievement Award, and the Order of Canada.

Patricia Cano is an award-winning Peruvian-Canadian singer-songwriter and actor. In 2001, Tomson Highway invited Patricia to perform alongside him in a cabaret of his songs. This marked the beginning of an artistic collaboration that continues to this day. In 2014, Tomson Highway released his first studio recording, Patricia Cano Sings Songs from The (Post) Mistress, and in 2015, the album was nominated for a JUNO in the Indigenous Album of the Year category. In 2017, Patricia won the Toronto Theatre Critics Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance in Cree, English and French in Highway's one-woman musical, The (Post) Mistress.

Cree Country Track Listing:

1. Keegi-Seep (This Morning) 2:39

2. Kinoosao Eepee-Gasoot (Burnt Fish) 2:28

3. Ooma Kaa-Pipook (When It’s Winter) 3:52

4. Thootin Kaana-Gamoot (When The Wind Sings) 3:15

5. Athis Eesaa-Gee-Hitaan (Because I Love You) 2:53

6. Saasay Tipi-Skow (It’s Night Already) 3:13

7. Taansi, Neechimoos (Hello, Darling) 2:54

8. Keespin (If) 2:37

9. Ateek Igwa Adele (Ateek And Adele) 3:59

10. Kimaam-Toonee-Thimi-Tin (I’m Thinkin’ Of You) 2:32

11. Peesaa-Geehin Seemaak (Come And Love Me Right Now) 3:04

12. Taat wow Maana (Every Time) 3:29

Cree Country Album Launch

Hosted by Tomson Highway

Monday, May 23, 2022 at 8:30pm

Horseshoe Tavern, 370 Queen Street West

Tickets are $17.50 in advance, $25 at the door

Illustration: Cover of Cree Country. © 2022.