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Without Tshakapesh and the adventures of his unparalleled life, it would not be possible to tell wild and domestic animals apart; with lichen growing in the trees of the lower North Shore, usnea (tree moss) would no longer exist, along with war. And were our joints and knuckles the work of a force (perhaps a more than Herculean one) of Tshakapesh’s?

The seven episodes of the fundamental myth that you will soon hear is known from the Southern tip of South America to Baffin Island. They were selected by Marie Pelletier from numerous versions collected in the 1906s by anthropologist Madeleine Lefebvre from seven uni-lingual and unknown storytellers.

Adding music to the behavior and actions of Tshakapesh allowed Marie Pelletier to grant myth a further metaphor. Be it by alternating or overlapping music with the speaker’s text, the voice and the percussion instruments place listeners at the centre of the mythic environment become audible. The listener literally becomes part of the constellation, with the narrative, and by having the musicians placed near, in the audience. One finds oneself in the forest, surrounded by trees, blown by the wind and visited by birds—witnesses to Tshakapesh’s feelings and acts, under both the damping rain and the glowing sun.

Aside from this type of spatialization, the blend of writing stiles is essential to Marie Pelletier’s compositional style. Tshakapesh brings together musical graphics, guided improvisation, and traditional types of composition. Under the dynamic and inspired direction of François A. Ouimet, the Tactus performers have convivially lent themselves to this unique musical experience, in which the rhythmic difficulties provide a true match for the Tshakapesh’s greatness, force and fearlessness, in which we take part despite ourselves. By virtue of the music…

This project was born of a fortunate meeting between Marie Pelletier and me. Since our children attended the same school, I sometimes nudged Marie, whose compositions I like very much, to write more vocal music. This motivated her to complete Tshakapesh. A few years later, our children are much older, and the project has become a reality. It is a great pleasure to present this work to you, with all its mystery and humour! Let the narrator’s voice lull you and discover the world of Tshakapesh—a child-man who put us on the earth.

François A Ouimet — Artistic Director [ii-09]