Jeremy Dutcher (CAN)

Five years after winning the Polaris Music Prize with his ground-breaking debut, Jeremy Dutcher has returned with a moving and radiant exploration of contemporary Indigeneity and his place within it. With songs performed in his people’s Wolasotqey language but also, for the first time, in English, Motewolonuwok demonstrates a range and depth beyond anything the musician has made before, encompassing traditional song, starlit ballads and staggering orchestrations. “When we engage with our stories, and our sad stories—what’s the golden thread that’s in there?” he asks. “I wanted to sing out the pain, and point us to the beauty.” 

“With my first record, the concept was so clear, so complete,” Dutcher says. Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa, released in 2018, vaulted Dutcher into the upper echelons of Canadian performance, from the Polaris and Juno Award stages to the judges’ panel on Canada’s Drag Race. But few would have predicted its success: the album began as a museum research project, exploring wax cylinder recordings of Wolastoqiyik song-carriers—Dutcher’s ancestors. The musician, a trained tenor, eventually duetted with those voices, singing back to his own community in the form of lush, reimagined songs.