Hon. Jane Cordy: Honourable senators, on December 13 of this year, 23-year-old Mi’kmaq singer-songwriter and fiddler Morgan Toney will travel to Paris, along with award-winning musician and producer Keith Mullins, to perform at the United Nation’s launch of the International Decade of Indigenous Languages. They will perform “Ko’jua”, an ancient Mi’kmaq song passed down in oral and singing traditions for over 500 years.
The International Decade of Indigenous Languages initiative aims to:
. . . draw global attention on the critical situation of many Indigenous languages and to mobilize stakeholders and resources for their preservation, revitalization and promotion.
Having grown up in Wagmatcook First Nation, Morgan decided at a young age that keeping his language alive is something that is very important to him. This led him to start singing traditional Mi’kmaq songs. He only began playing the fiddle three and a half years ago, but has created a fusion genre of music, joining his Mi’kmaq roots with his love for Cape Breton Celtic music. Morgan explained:
It’s a really beautiful thing and I just think it’s the right time because when you come to Cape Breton, you’re surrounded by different cultures and you’re surrounded by different languages and when you mix two cultures together and it blends and it just works so perfectly — that’s something nobody has ever seen before.
Morgan and Keith are thrilled to have the opportunity to play before the United Nations and to share their culture with the world. They hope to be a positive influence for young Mi’kmaq children. In speaking about the impact of his work, Morgan has said:
Music is universal but our teachings are universal too and that’s what I love when we talk about our Mi’kmaq teachings: it’s not just Mi’kmaq teachings . . . it’s something we can all learn from and no matter who you are, or what your nationality is, we have something to share.
Honourable senators, join me in congratulating Morgan Toney and Keith Mullins on their upcoming performance in Paris. Break a leg, Morgan and Keith — or, as we say in Cape Breton, “get ’er done!” Thank you.