Music’s an almost alchemical force to Canadian Mi’kmaq fiddler and singer Morgan Toney. In just a short amount of time, Toney has invigorated both the Atlantic music communities and Mi’kmaq communities by bringing together the fiery fiddling of Cape Breton Island with the old songs of the Mi’kmaq, some dating back up to 500 years. He calls this fusion Mi’kmaltic (Mi’kmaq + Celtic) and it’s his way of celebrating his language and heritage. “There are two worlds of Mi’kmaq music,” Toney explains, “song and fiddle. They had never come together before. People knew of each, but never had I ever seen a collaboration between Celtic and Mi’kmaq culture before.
Toney’s debut album First Flight, nominated for 3 East Coast Music Awards and a Canadian Folk Music Award, showcases this unique combination, both in the way he transforms traditional songs like the Ko’jua and the Mi’kmaq Honour Song, but also for the new songs he’s creating. “Msit No’kmaq” was written partially in Mi’kmaq and features a fiddle break from the great Cape Breton fiddler Ashley MacIsaac. “Kwana Li” is a traditional Mi’kmaq song that Toney added new English lyrics to and “For the Elders” is a newly composed waltz from Toney.
With the immediate accolades and attention, it’s easy to forget that Morgan Toney is so new to the music, having only played the fiddle for a few years. But there’s something deeper at work here. His great-grandfather and three other great-uncles were all Mi’kmaq fiddlers of renown in the community. In a sense, Toney’s coming back full circle. And circles are something he understands. “We are living in circles,” he says. “The earth is a circle. The drum is a circle, how we move around is a circle, how we greet each other. The talking circle is huge.”
Ishkōdé Records introduces First Flight to the world on March 25, 2022.
Three pairs of 2 unique artists come together to blend their own musical stylings in songs/pieces co-written exclusively for this special recorded event to be broadcast…