Heart Songs of the White Wampum is a setting for four poems from the anthology Flint and Feather written by the Canadian poet E. Pauline Johnson. She was raised in Southern Ontario, the daughter of an English immigrant and a Mohawk Chief. Her Mohawk name was Tekahionwake. Two of the poems are taken from a previously published collection entitled The White Wampum. This title refers to a type of shell widely used as currency in North America around the time of western contact. The white wampum was a highly valuable denomination within this monetary system. These poems express Johnson’s love of nature, both in their joy and playfulness and in the sincere way they express feelings of compassion and tenderness. Pauline Johnson died in 1913 and is buried in Stanley Park, Vancouver.
Commissioned by Elektra Women’s Choir, Morna Edmundson, Artistic Director, Bella Voce Women’s Chorus of Vermont, Dr. Dawn Willis, Artistic Director, and the University of Toronto Women’s Chamber Choir,
Dr. Hilary Apfelstadt, Conductor.
Commissioned with the generous financial assistance of the Canada Council for the Arts and the Diane Loomer Commissioning Fund for Elektra Women’s Choir.
Text in the public domain.
Order single movements:
II. The Lifting of the Mist
III. Fire Flowers
IV. The Birds’ Lullaby