The Story of the Song
Yôtin (The Wind) was inspired by watching the wind swirl leaves and debris. I reflected on the wind, realizing that it can be gentle, playful, demanding, fierce or biting. Traditional Cree teachings about wind teach that the wind carries prayers and songs to others or the Creator. Yôtin (The Wind) honours the wind and the gifts it brings.
The minor key evokes the mood of a mysterious wind. The introduction is to be sung legato, taking note of the accents, vocal slides, grace notes, and falls. When the melody comes in, the underlying voices chant vocables which represent gusts of wind, urging us forward to the storm-like finale.
Yôtin (The Wind) was commissioned by Pro Coro Canada, under the direction of Michael Zaugg.
Yôtin nîpîhtamak nikamona
The wind carries songs to me.
Yôtin kîpîhtamak nitayamihâwin
The wind carries my prayers to you.
Kisemanito nanâskamon yôtin ohci
Creator, I am thankful for this wind.
Yôtin means “wind” in Woodland Cree Y-Dialect. It is pronounced [yo-tIn] or “yoh-tihn.”preservation and creation of language songs with the traditional hand drum and rattle.
“Equally striking, but very different in tone, was Yôtin (The Wind) by Sherryl Sewepagaham. The setting of a Woodland Cree-Dene poem was accompanied by traditional native drums and shakers in the background. It was a seamless integration of contemporary choral techniques in its opening swoops and sound patterns, and of native traditions — reconciliation at its most artistically powerful.”
– Mark Morris, Edmonton Joural