GRANDMOTHER'S SONG - NIPISIY INDIGENOUS WOMEN'S GROUP
Donita Large singing with Sherryl Sewepegaham, Debbie Houle & Cindy Paul. Song written by Leo McGilvery.
Donita Large is a Cree singer-songwriter that can lift the hair on the back of your neck when you experience her singing and feel the story in her songs.
Immersed in Metis, country, and gospel music, Donita began singing at a young age at important life events and learned early that music could help with healing. Donita started to add blues, rock, traditional and contemporary Indigenous music to her genres. Performing solo or in groups, Donita has sang in Indigenous women's acapella and drum groups, for special events like in the Indigenous & Black Choir for a Johnny Reid CCMA performance, an Indigenous quintet performance at Carnegie Hall, and on intimate stages like the Pêhonân stage at the Edmonton International Fringe Festival. In May 2021, Donita created and produced the music for a University of Alberta educational video called “Territorial Acknowledgements: Going Beyond the Script”.
Donita’s first single debut can be best described as Indigenous Blues, as her vocals leave multiple flavours. Donita states that "Going To Walk That Line" was born out of her time jamming with other women. The song speaks to women's tenacity of overcoming painful relationships and deciding what line they want to walk. The pandemic halted her women's gatherings and Donita found herself turning within, and deciding it is now or never, “I want to share my music - I am going to walk that line”.
Donita reached out to the multi-talented singer-songwriter Cindy Paul for her expertise and Cindy came on board as Recording Engineer and Producer. Some of Cindy’s notable mentions include nominations from New York’s Native American Music Awards, Western Canadian Music Awards, Canadian Folk Music Awards & Milwaukee’s Indian Summer Music Awards, & she composed the theme song for the World Indigenous Nations Games. Donita told Cindy that she had one dream for the recording and that was to find a sweet, slide guitar player that could give her the blues sound she had been searching for. Cindy called on accomplished guitar player Gord Matthews. Gord, the guitar player for KD Lang's former band the Reclines and member of Ian Tyson’s acoustic trio, came into the recording session in Edmonton, sat down and recorded the lead guitar, bass and steel slide in one evening. Donita expressed how amazing it was to hear the song she imagined played back to her for the first time. As many artists have discovered over the pandemic, with the magic of technology and file sharing, percussion was made possible by in demand session drummer Jaime Cooper. The last touch to bring it all together, was for final mixing & mastering by Winnipeg Rapper & Producer Osani Balkaran.
Donita released “Going to Walk that Line” in June 2021 and by the third week of September, it hit #1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown. Donita has been humbled by the TV, radio and podcast interviews that have reached out to her to hear more about her debut single. Blues shows from Paris, France to the United Kingdom are asking for more and are awaiting an album.
Donita, fueled by the excitement of the success of her first single, decided it was time to work on her next single. A song that is close to her heart, called Ancestors in My Bones which is a call to action that speaks to “together, our circle is strong.” Donita had written the song as a drum song many years ago but was looking for a Producer who could create contemporary and Indigenous sounds that built the emotion of her message, to create the song she envisioned. In August 2021, Donita was introduced to Producer-Singer-Songwriter-Musician Chris Birkett. Chris Birkett, also known for producing work by notable artists such as Buffy Sainte Marie, Sinead O’Connor, Steve Earle, Led Zepplin and Quincy Jones. Chris listened to Donita’s song and loved it and the two began to work together the following day.
Chris having worked on five of Buffy Sainte Marie’s albums and with other Indigenous artists knew the sounds that Donita was seeking. By October 2021, Chris delivered the master copy of Ancestors in my Bones with one version ready for radio and one extended Full Version edition. The song is under the World Rock genre, and as Donita states “For me, this song speaks to my ancestors, it speaks to the ancestors of my nation, it speaks to the ancestors of all our nations”. Donita plans to host an online single release event to coincide with the digital drop of her new single on November 13, 2021, at 6pm MST livestreamed on her Donita Large Music Facebook Page.
Donita’s song begins in prayer with her father Frank Large saying a prayer in Cree. Donita shares, when in circle and we pray an Elder will say, “Pray in your own way. All beliefs are respected in the circle”. Donita wants her listeners to know that this prayer is shared with the same intention. After the release of Ancestors in My Bones, Donita plans to work towards creating a music video to support this song next year. Donita Large and Chris Birkett also have decided that they would like to continue working together and to create a full-length album, so expect more to come.
MAY 2021 - Donita created the music for the University of Alberta's educational video "Territorial Acknowledgements: Going Beyond the Script".
Lead Vocal for "Cree Communion"
Vocals & Drumming for her original soundscape "Amiskwacîwâskahikan"