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Sultans Of String

Walking Through the Fire

Release Date: September 15, 2023

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Nîmihito (Dance) - Sultans of String feat. Northern Cree
A Beautiful Darkness feat. Marc Meriläinen (Nadjiwan)
Our Mother The Earth feat. Duke Redbird
Take Off The Crown
The Rez - Sultans of String feat. Crystal Shawanda
Walking Through The Fire - EPK
'Black Winged Raven' feat. Shannon Thunderbird
Crystal Shawanda and Sultans of String
1 A Beautiful Darkness  
2 The Rez  
3 Take Off The Crown  
4 Ko  
5 Nimihito (Dance)  
6 Lost and Found  
7 Black Winged Raven  
8 Our Mother the Earth  
9 Sweet Alberta  
10 Humma  
11 Highway of Tears  
12 Chanson de Riel  
13 Tkaronto Reel  
14 Quviasuliqpunga  
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What do Crystal Shawanda, Leela Gilday, Northern Cree powwow group, a dozen other Indigenous artists, and Roots band Sultans of String have in common? They have all come together in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action and Final Report that calls for Indigenous and non-Indigenous artists to work together to find a path forward, and have created Walking Through the Fire. This album and live show are a powerful collection of collaborations between the roots group and First Nations, Métis, and Inuit artists from across Turtle Island, with the CD releasing September 15, 2023, and a live concert tour launching on September 28, leading up to and following the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

Fire can be destructive, as we have seen with the unprecedented forest fires still burning in Canada. But what we see right afterward is interesting, as collaborating Indigenous art director Mark Rutledge explains, referencing the title and cover art of Walking Through the Fire. “You’ll see the burnt-out husks of trees and the ash and the charcoal on the landscape. But fireweed is the first plant after a forest fire that emerges, and you’ll see rivers and fields of magenta within the barren landscape, and those nutrients are going back into the soil for the next generation of trees and flowers and regrowth.”

There is fear instilled within the very notion of fire because it can be so destructive, not just to the landscape, but to the lives of people. But what lies beyond fear that holds people back from achieving what they want to achieve? “The other side of fear is growth and potential with collaboration between non-Indigenous and Indigenous people,” Mark continues. “When we drop the word reconciliation on people, there’s a large group of people who don’t understand what that means. And when you don’t understand something, you are fearful of it. But if we go through the same experience together, we walk through that fire together, and we come out together on the other end and have that unified experience together, that’s the power in this album.”

Together these artists are making a safe, creative space where new connections can be dreamed of – not in the Western way of thinking and problematizing – but instead a deeper sharing and understanding, with music being the common ground to help cultures connect and understand each other. “We are opening doors for each other, as Indigenous peoples, as settler peoples. This project is about creating connections and spaces to learn from each other” explains collaborator Alyssa Delbaere-Sawchuk, violist with Métis Fiddler Quartet.

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