© 2022 Michigan State University Board of Trustees
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

Jeremy Dutcher: Tiny Desk Concert

Jeremy Dutcher came to the Tiny Desk with sparkling, purple streams of glitter draped around his shoulders. Then he set his iPad on our Yamaha upright piano, not to read his score as pianists do these days, but to play a centuries-old wax cylinder recording of a song sung in the incredibly rare language of Wolastoq. Jeremy Dutcher, along with cellist Blanche Israel and percussionist and electronics wizard Greg Harrison, wove that old recording into a remarkably passionate performance that was very 21st-century, with a deep nod to a century past.

There is no one making music like this 27-year-old, classically trained opera tenor and pianist. He's not only a member of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, Canada, but one of fewer than 100 people who still speak — and in his case also sing — in Wolastoq. His Tiny Desk performance illustrates his deep respect for his heritage, even as he sings through vocal processors and looping devices of the very present. It's a dialog with the past that earned him a Polaris prize for his 2018 album Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa (one of NPR Music's top albums of that year). But more importantly, he stresses awareness of a people nearly extinct, to a culture often too steeped in the present.

Watch this remarkably artful performance and take a moment to reflect on those who inhabited our recent past and remain a part of who we are.

SET LIST

  • "Mehcinut"
  • "Pomok naka Poktoinskwes"
  • "Koselwintuwakon"
  • MUSICIANS

    Jeremy Dutcher: lead vocals, piano; Blanche Israel: cello; Greg Harrison: percussion, electronics

    CREDITS

    Producers: Bob Boilen, Morgan Noelle Smith; Creative Director: Bob Boilen; Audio Engineers: Josh Rogosin, Patrick Boyd; Videographers: Morgan Noelle Smith, CJ Riculan, Nick Michael ; Associate Producer: Bobby Carter; Photo: Michael Zamora/NPR

    Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

    In 1988, a determined Bob Boilen started showing up on NPR's doorstep every day, looking for a way to contribute his skills in music and broadcasting to the network. His persistence paid off, and within a few weeks he was hired, on a temporary basis, to work for All Things Considered. Less than a year later, Boilen was directing the show and continued to do so for the next 18 years.
    News from WKAR will never be behind a paywall. Ever. We need your help to keep our coverage free for everyone. Please consider supporting the news you rely on with a donation today. You can support our journalism for as little as $5. Every contribution, no matter the size, propels our vital coverage. Thank you.