Undercurrent
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Audio installation, Singing River, Pan Am Path, Pedestrian Bridge, Lower Don Trail, Toronto, July 4-5 2015

Transducers applied to the pedestrian bridge transform it into a vibrating loudspeaker, singing the river’s Anishinaabemowin name to the most constricted and polluted section of the waterway.

Original song for the Wonscotonach River composed by Marie Gaudet and performed by the First Nations School of Toronto girls singing group.

Wonscotonach has been translated by linguist Basil Johnson as “burning bright point or peninsula” or a point bright with fire, perhaps referring to the peninsula near the mouth of the Don (later the Toronto islands).

“When you think about it, a lot of these songs came from the women who did the laundry along the riverside. This song came to me when I was in the laundromat. I was in there alone, listening to the swishes of the water and the humming of the machines. And I was thinking of another song that I really liked and thinking that, geez, I’d like to make a really nice pretty song like that one. And so that is how the song came to me.” — Marie Gaudet, on composing the Wonscotonach River Song

Creative team: artistic director Juliet Palmer & sound artist Christopher Willes
Additional voices: Regent Park School of Music