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Morgan Toney & Keith Mullins

Enjoy this extraordinary beautiful Mi’kmaltic (Mi’kmaq + Celtic) music all the way from Cape Breton!


The IRL Festival is proud to present Morgan Toney and Keith Mullins for an extraordinary night of Cape Breton and Mi’kmaq music! Music’s an almost alchemical force to Canadian Mi’kmaq fiddler and singer Morgan Toney. From the first time he really heard music, sitting on the floor of his uncle’s house transfixed by a DVD of Phil Collins, to 2022 where he’s one of the most in-demand young fiddlers and singers in Atlantic Canada, was nominated for three East Coast Canadian Music Awards, and his debut album, First Flight, is being reissued by Indigenous record label Ishkode Records. In just a short amount of time, Toney’s been able to invigorate both the Atlantic music communities and Mi’kmaq communities by bringing together the fiery fiddling of Cape Breton Island with the old songs of the Mi’kmaq, one song dating back up to 500 years. He calls this fusion Mi’kmaltic (Mi’kmaq + Celtic) and it’s his way of celebrating his language and heritage. He’s honouring the elders who’ve taught him the songs and the language, and he’s taking his place on the front lines of Eastern Canada’s cultural divide. Though Toney’s fiddling has been celebrated across Canada, including special appearances with Ashley MacIsaac, Jimmy Rankin, and more, it might make sense that his first instrument were the drums. Just a kid in his uncle’s house, Phil Collins’ drumming sparked something inside him. Later at home with that DVD, Toney pulled the pots and pans out of the cupboard to play along and never really stopped. Though he was born in We’koqma’q First Nation on Cape Breton Island, Toney credits the move when he was a teenager to Wagmatcook with the start of his musical and spiritual interests. At a school that featured smudging ceremonies, prayers in Mi’kmaq, and the Mi’kmaq Honour song, Toney was surrounded by the culture. From the drumset, he moved to the First Nations drum, learning the songs from elders directly in talking circles. An example of Mi’kmaq governance, the talking circles are often led by elders, with whoever is holding a feather given enough space to speak, tell stories, or sing. “It gives everyone a chance to say what they have to say in a respectful manner,” Toney explains. “In every talking circle I’ve been to there’s always a song. It’s either a song I know that I can sing or a new song I hadn’t heard before. I never walked away from the talking circle without learning that new song.”

March 17, 2023 @ 8:00 pm 9:30 pm

Admission price: $25

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