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Songs in the Key of Cree

Tomson Highway

May 11, 2017 @ 8PM

Market Hall Performing Arts Centre, 140 Charlotte St.

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General Admission $40 | VIP Cocktail Reception $100
*VIP tickets holders will receive a $50 charitable tax receipt.

(Clockwise from top) Tomson Highway, Patricia Cano and Marcus Ali

English is so hierarchical. In Cree, we don’t have animate-inanimate comparisons between things.

Animals have souls that are equal to ours. Rocks have souls, trees have souls. Trees are ‘who,’ not ‘what.” – Tomson Highway.
Public Energy is honoured to welcome back to Peterborough a living legend of Canadian theatre and music, Tomson Highway. On May 11 he brings Songs in the Key of Cree to the Market Hall stage with the extraordinary Peruvian/Canadian singer Patricia Cano, and saxophonist Marcus Ali.

Songs in the Key of Cree is a compilation of songs written over the past thirty years by Cree-Canadian playwright/songwriter/pianist Tomson Highway. The songs in the show are taken from five of his musicals over the years, in order: “Rose,” “The Incredible Adventures of Mary Jane Mosquito,” “The (Post) Mistress,” “The Sage, the Dancer, and the Fool” and a new work in progress as yet to be named. What makes the songs unique is their Cree lyrics.

Cree is the most spoken Native language in Canada today. “Winnipeg, Manitoba, Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, Chicoutimi, Quebec, Ottawa…” that’s all Cree, a very rhythmic language that lends itself very naturally to music and music-making. And the style of the music is “cabaret.”

Think Cole Porter and Kurt Weill (two of Tomson’s biggest influences)…with Cree lyrics.

Many songs will be sung in English, and some in French. Mr. Highway is tri-lingual in Cree — his mother tongue — French, and English. Songs in the Key of Cree is touring Europe in spring, 2017, with additional stops in Peterborough and Koerner Hall in Toronto.

A member of the Order of Canada, Tomson Highway is one of Canada’s greatest playwrights.

Peterborough audiences will recall that two of Mr. Highway’s best works have been staged in Peterborough by the O’Kaadenigan Wiingashk Collective, assisted by Public Energy: The Rez Sisters and The (Post) Mistress. Mr. Highway first teamed up with singer Patricia Cano, and Toronto saxophonist Marcus Ali, to perform Highway’s show The (Post) Mistress on the Market Hall stage in 2012. Since that time the three musical partners have performed the play across Canada and created the cabaret Songs in the Key of Cree, which will make its Peterborough debut on the same Market Hall Performing Arts Centre stage where Tomson, Patricia and Marcus first met five years ago as the cast for The (Post) Mistress.


Thank You!

Public Energy gratefully acknowledges the generous support of our 2023-24 Season Funders and Sponsors.

Season Sponsors & Funders

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