Makusham! Where dreams are shared


For many years, the OSM has worked on bringing symphonic music closer to the musical cultures of First Nations, Inuit and Metis peoples through collaborative and forward-looking projects. In the fall of 2018, the Orchestra’s tour of the Great North and the creation of the opera Chaakapesh, the Trickster’s Quest made it possible for Innu, Cree and Inuit communities to discover the universe of traditional Western symphonic music in their own settings. The invitation to share the experience extends this year to the OSM Classical Spree, with Makusham!, an event in which the OSM enters the universe of Innu artists Florent Vollant and Scott Pien Picard, as well as Metis artist Moe Clark, three creators who have forged solid links between tradition and modernity. Symphonic music makes way for folk, pop, spirituality, and the organic dimension of sound.

Welcome to the makusham!

Florent Vollant, Tshishe Manitu

An essential component of First Nations culture

Precisely defining a makusham is not an easy thing. Makusham is a meeting, a sharing, and a get-together all in one, where people can dance, play music and tell stories. Makusham is also the contagious energy between open-minded human beings who harbour respect for each other and are filled with love; it is an ode to the Earth and to existence, where the idea of performance vanishes and where one can be fully oneself. The word “makusham” is so all-encompassing that it can take on highly diverse meanings, including the music studio which Florent Vollant opened in his hometown of Maliotenam, or even the television variety show he hosted for many years.

During the Classical Spree, a makusham will be offered in partnership with the Montreal First Peoples Festival, both unique and rooted in a timeless tradition of openness to others. Songs in Innu, Cree, French and English, a festive yet refined atmosphere, the transcendent beat of the teweikan (traditional drum), the folk guitar, and an ensemble of three OSM instrumentalists (on marimba, violin and cello): this acoustic get-together with instruments of skin and wood is bound to be as inspiring as it is revitalizing.

Moe Clark, niki pawatin

A bridge between cultures

For two tributaries to flow into a single river, the OSM has called upon an artist of exception: composer and arranger Blair Thomson. Originally from Toronto, Blair was fascinated by the duo Kashtin (Claude McKenzie, Florent Vollant) during his studies in ethnomusicology, and he embraced this new, atypical project with obvious enthusiasm. The initial meetings between him and the musicians were an opportunity to discover the stories behind the songs and to trace the origins of their creation: “The Innu artists have a deep love for their music, and I must locate the source of that profound love,” says Blair Thomson. While endeavouring to put himself in the musicians’ shoes, he realizes that he must remain himself if he is to write inspired arrangements and respect the stories and the musical universe of these artists. Meetings will continue until August 9, at which time we are all invited to a celebration of music and dance, in mutual understanding, without any division between artists and audiences. In all simplicity and humanity, we wish you a great makusham!

© Benjamin Goron
© Traduction anglaise par Le Trait juste