(Halifax/K’jipuktuk, NS) Leaf Music and Luminous Voices are releasing a new album, Ispiciwin (“journey” in Cree), a collection of pieces by mostly Canadian composers from Turtle Island. The fifth album from the esteemed ensemble and their third on Leaf Music combines choral music sung in Cree and represents a promising stepping stone on the path to reconciliation. Ispiciwin represents personal and collective reflection by the composers, singers, instrumentalists and directors, culminating in an album that represents many unique compositional voices and styles.
Luminous Voices commissioned and premiered the works by Arthur Bachmann, Carmen Braden, and Zachary Wadsworth. Edmonton composer Stuart Beatch’s Girl Hours found its way onto this recording through conversations and serendipity with the choir’s director, Timothy Shantz. Sherryl Sewepagaham’s Okâwîmâw askiy was premiered by Luminous Voices as part of Samantha Whelan’s Wandering with Wonder performance project in September 2021 and became a soundtrack to Luminous Voices’ 2021–22 season. I am the Rose of Sharon by Swiss/Italian composer Ivo Antognini, with text taken from the Song of Solomon, rounds out the repertoire and Edmonton composer Laura Hawley’s moving setting of Rise Up, My Love.
Ispiciwin is a unique project that brings together many strands of Indigenous and non-Indigenous identity, a sentiment that attracted Winnipeg and Cree composer Andrew Balfour, who said, “Working with Luminous Voices and Timothy Shantz, along with artists Jessica McMann and Walter MacDonald White Bear, is a dream collaboration that results in a closer understanding of truth-telling and storytelling from an Indigenous perspective.”
Ispiciwin deals with themes surrounding truth, storytelling, and the difficult path toward reconciling the past. Luminous Voices Artistic Director Timothy Shantz says, “We’re all very proud to share the music on this album and hope that all the composers’ unique voices are heard through our performances. More than anything, we want these incredible artists to be heard throughout the world.”
Luminous Voices continues to thrill audiences in Calgary and beyond through performances, recordings, and workshops. The choir illuminates choral music of the past and present and supports contemporary composers by regularly commissioning new works. Founded in 2012, Luminous Voices unites local, national, and international artists and organizations through exceptional sonic experiences encompassing live and virtual performances, recordings, workshops, and community educational activities. Other releases through Leaf Music are Artem Vedel: Twelve Sacred Choral Concerti & Divine Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom (2021) and their 2020 release, Sea Dreams by Peter-Anthony Togni, which was nominated for a 2021 JUNO Award.
The choir also released The Far West on Bridge Records in 2016, which Joshua Kosman of the San Francisco Chronicle described as “beautifully sung, as everything here is, by the aptly named Luminous Voices under Timothy Shantz.” The Far West was awarded the 2018 National Choral Award for Outstanding Choral Recording and the 2016 National Choral Award for Outstanding Choral Composition from Choral Canada. Luminous Voices’ first release in 2015, Mendelssohn’s Te Deum, was the 2016 winner of Outstanding Choral Recording from Choral Canada.
Ispiciwin will be available on all major platforms October 6.
Leaf Music is an independent recording label based in Halifax, Nova Scotia, making and distributing high-quality classical music recordings by artists and composers from across Canada. Naxos of America distributes our growing catalogue of solo, orchestral, and chamber music to the world’s most important music retailers, download providers, and streaming services. We are also a provider of professional audio and video production, post-production services and integrated music marketing and distribution in Canada.
For more information/photos or to arrange interviews please contact Peggy Walt, firstname.lastname@example.org (902) 422-5403 (office) or (902) 476-1096 (cell).