North

Renowned choir to sing Tlicho lyrics written and translated by N.W.T.'s own

'I was so honoured just to hear the Tlicho words being sung by the group,' says Rosa Mantla, who translated the song.

'I was so honoured just to hear the Tlicho words being sung by the group,' says Rosa Mantla

Rosa Mantla from Bechoko, N.W.T., translated for a renowned Canadian choir singing the world premiere of Naka (meaning northern lights in Tlicho), a song in a six-part musical work. (CBC)

A Toronto music hall will be filled with melodies with Tlicho lyrics about the northern lights Wednesday, written and translated by N.W.T.'s own Richard Van Camp and Rosa Mantla.

The Elmer Iseler singers — a renowned Canadian choir — will be singing Naka (meaning northern lights in Tlicho) in its world premiere performance. The piece is a part of a six-movement work titled River of Light in a music festival organized by the Royal Conservatory of Music.

The lyrics, written in English by Tlicho author Van Camp, were translated into Tlicho by Mantla who's from Behchoko, N.W.T.

This week, Mantla helped coach the choir before the piece's grand debut Wednesday at the Koerner Hall in Toronto.

"The rehearsal was beautiful," said Mantla. "I was so honoured just to hear the Tlicho words being sung by the group."

Mantla says the Tlicho language is "very, very unique." She had to work with a linguist to spell out the pronunciation of the words for the choir.

"This is what is needed, especially away from the North where probably they don't hear our languages."

Mantla said indigenous culture and languages need to be recognized in regions outside of the North.

"This is what we need to do for our culture and language, especially for our people," said Mantla.

With files from Loren McGinnis, Joanne Stassen

now