As Montreal hosts COP15 – A gathering of nation leaders , whose main focus is on protecting nature and halting biodiversity loss around the world, we are urged to re-examine our relationship to Nature, Earth and the links that bind ourselves to others.
Canada hopes to reach its target of conserving 25 per cent of Canada’s land and waters by 2025, and 30 per cent by 2030.
Making the headlines as one of the key points of discussion from the conference is that Indigenous-led conservation and a national network of land protectors are key to Canada and Quebec reaching targets of land conservation by 2030, according to the Indigenous Leadership Initiative: a national network that aims to affirm nationhood through asserting rights over land and water, that are taking part in COP15 this week.
To achieve our goals, collaboration and a vivid awareness of our current global challenges with Nature has to be acknowledged by the masses.
Here in Montreal, the artists of the group Oktoecho express the common perpetual quest for harmony between man and nature, drawing inspiration from the music and sacred dances of Sufi and Indigenous traditions in Canada.
Yesterday at the Pratt & Whitney Canada Hall of the Théâtre de la Ville in Longueuil , the Oktoecho ensemble brought together on stage over 22 artists from 6 Indigenous nations yesterday at Transcestral – a unique show that combined the sacred ancestral traditions of Canadian indigenous music and Sufi trance music.
The range of read poetry, spoken word, Inuit throat singing , rhythmic drum beats and meditation whirling dervish emphasized our never-ending search for harmony and oneness with nature and was a true hymn to life !
“Although our music is not sacred, it is inspired by ceremonial music. Commonalities such as Earth, Healing, Tribute are at the heart of Transcestral,” … explains Ms. Katia Makdissi-Warren, artistic director, composer and founder of the group.
Under Ms. Makdissi-Warren’s direction, poetess Josephine Bacon, Sufi singer Anouar Barrada, Métis singer Moe Clark, Inuit throat singers Nina Segalowitz & Lydia Etok, powwow singers Buffalo Hat Singers (Norman Achneepineskum) and 14-year-old whirling dervish Adam Barrada, created a moment of pure, lyrical bliss with original musical compositions that blended the ancestral and religious traditions together.
The pulsation and rhythmic beats of the group’s repertoire create a meditative aura that puts emphasis on a trance-like condition, more specifically the transitional period between trance and wakefulness.
This state is most obvious when the young 14 year old Adam Barrada ( featured below) comes onto the stage to perform his whirling:
This intermediate state of ecstasy between consciousness and trance has a name in both Indigenous and Sufi cultures. The Sufis refer to it as the Tarab.
It is known as NÎWNÎSHN BUNN-GEE ET-WAWA NAEN DA-MN in Anishinaabemowin.
Niki Pawatin – I had a Dream / by Moe Clark, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Joseph Naytowhow
This beautiful track is sung in Cree.
Recorded and mixed by Mark Schmidt, April 2015, at Northern Town Music, it is one of the 11 tracks featured on Oktoecho‘s album Transcestral below:
Oktoecho‘s core mandate is to promote the creation and performance of blended musical works by local composers through the production of concerts, events, sound recordings and touring. In addition, the Oktoecho group offers specialized programs in world music (Middle Eastern, native, Jewish) to teach professional musicians and composers.
To learn more about the Oktoecho group and to listen to their music, please visit their official website :