Michael R Denny
I started singing traditional songs when I was a child and they were always a part of my family. My father taught us those songs when we were young, he didn’t know that it would ignite a flame within us (me and my brother) to carry on those songs, and even carry on being proud L’nu people. One time my cousin, Mike Doucette was an MC at a powwow my drum group was at, and he asked me (over the mic) to sing these old songs for the people, he knew I had been practicing them. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to sing them in public, but I went up with my ji’kmaqn (rattle) in hand and sang. Since then, almost every powwow I go to, I sing Ko’jua songs.
These Ko’jua songs are traditional Mi’kmaq songs, that were historically sung at Mawio’mi, Wikapaltimk (feast ceremonies), Indian Summer games etc. These dances were for fun! Often times as competition dances, where communities sent their best dancers to compete. The champion would win bragging rights for the rest of the year or until the next mawio’mi. Today, they are mostly sung at powwows and feasts. There are lots of dancers still and through the Powwows in eastern Canada more Mi’kmaq people are starting to reclaim this dance. The songs are starting to make a comeback. I hope that by sharing these songs more people will take up singing with our traditional instrument, the Ji’kmaqn (a rattle like make with Ash wood splints), and sing these songs for our dancers!
Traditionally Yours: Mi’kmaq Drums, Young and Old CD
This Album represents the old and the new of Mi’kmaq song. Ko’jua Songs are historic social dance songs played with a Ash Split Rattle. As a Mi’kmaq speaker I have written many contemporary Powwow songs celebrating and playing with the alliteration of my language. I hope you enjoy my debut album.