Mi'kmaq artist Morgan Toney tackles the Unknown in new song, Alasutamaqn
East Coast Music Hour's The Story and the Song explores The Unknown in week two
The chorus to Alasutamaqn, Morgan Toney's track for The Story and the Song – The Unknown, translates literally to, "Lord, I need to pray," but the song itself is all about acceptance of the unknown.
And while this theme in The Story and the Song is an exploration of how we have coped with the unknown throughout a pandemic, it's also an apt metaphor for the journey taken by the young Mi'kmaq artist to becoming a fiddler.
During his enrollment interview with the chair of the music department at Cape Breton University, Morgan was asked if he had a fiddle at home. He confirmed that he did, but neglected to mention he didn't actually know how to play it.
And although to that point Toney had been a drummer, he made the decision to leap into the unknown and begin studying the fiddle seriously – with the great fiddle teacher Stan Chapman no less.
The rest is recent history. Toney's name has been on the lips of fiddle fans ever since he seemed to come out of nowhere and share the stage with Ashley MacIsaac, opening the live-streamed Celtic Colours Festival in 2020.
He certainly caught the attention of East Coast producer Keith Mullins, who jumped at the chance to work with Toney. The first time Mullins heard Toney play traditional Mi'kmaq song Ko'jua, he knew right away he wanted to record it.
Mullins also recognized that working with Toney and East Coast Music Hour on the Story and the Song this year made perfect sense. "I knew right away that what you do and what we do together would be such a great fit for them [CBC]," said Mullins.
"I didn't know what to expect," comments Toney. "I just knew we had the best musicians around coming on to the song…I got to work with great musicians and Colin [Grant] helped me out with the tune…it's always great to have that mentorship."
The two are now focused on recording Morgan's debut album, using GoFundMe to raise the money required. They hope to release it in the coming year.
Joining Morgan Toney on the Story and the Song – The Unknown are: Eastern Owl, Joce Reyome, Phil Churchill featuring Geraldine Hollett (from The Once), Quote the Raven with special guests, Reeny Smith and Amelia Curran.