“She used to say writing was her therapy. She had a lot of painful memories and she had to get them out. She became a writer because she wasn’t allowed to write. The more they tried to break her will, the more she went her own way.”
Ann Joe, Daughter of Mi’kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe, C.M.
I Lost My Talk is based on the poem by Rita Joe. She penned her poem to express not only the pain and suffering she experienced at Schubenacadie Residential School in Nova Scotia, but also her hope and conviction that her words could guide and inspire Indigenous and non-Indigenous peoples across Canada to journey to a place of strength and healing.
The film, shot in high definition on the shores of Georgian Bay, features 10 First Nations dancers moving in choreography created by Santee Smith Tekaronhiáhkhwa, Artistic Director of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre. Rita Joe’s poem is narrated by Guna and Rappahannock actor Monique Mojica. NAC award composer John Estacio has created a lush musical score which is performed in synergy with a film by world-renowned director Barbara Willis Sweete.The visual design company, Normal, brings the film to life on screens that immerse the orchestra and audience.
Discover the creative genius of Canadian throat singer Tanya Tagaq, winner of the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, in the performance of Qiksaaktuq where she improvises the lament for murdered and missing Indigenous women. Qiksaaktuq is written in five movements, based on the five stages of grief: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and acceptance. Tagaq will create her part in real time and will improvise a powerful lament for those women and girls who have been lost. All of these components are essential in the creation of the composed/improvised, or “comprovised” piece, Qiksaaktuq.
We thank the creative team of I Lost My Talk: the National Arts Centre Orchestra for commissioning and producing I Lost My Talk as part of the Life Reflected project, Mi'kmaw elder and poet Rita Joe, C.M., composer John Estacio, choreographer Santee Smith Tekaronhiáhkhwa and the dancers of Kaha:wi Dance Theatre, narrator Guna and Rappahannock actor Monique Mojica, filmmaker Barbara Sweete, visual designers Normal, and the whole creative team behind Life Reflected at the National Arts Centre.
Qiksaaktuq was commissioned by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra with financial support from the Government of Canada for performance in March 2017. We thank the creative team of Tanya Tagaq, Christine Duncan, Jean Martin/orch., and Christopher Mayo and the Toronto Symphony Orchestra.
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