The Next Chapter·Bedside Books

Why musician Alysha Brilla loved reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer

The Ontario singer-songwriter says the book blends science and Indigenous knowledge to describe the teachings of plants.
Alysha Brilla, pictured above at the 2015 Juno Awards, recommends reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer. (Lisa MacIntosh)

This interview originally aired on Jan. 7, 2019.

Alysha Brilla was nominated for her first Juno Award in 2018 for her self-produced fourth album, Rooted, which offers a mix of upbeat folk, jazz and world sounds. The Kitchener-Waterloo, Ont., artist has performed in venues across Canada and internationally, from Singapore to Tanzania.

Below, she describes why she loved reading Braiding Sweetgrass by Robin Wall Kimmerer.

"This is an incredible book about Indigenous wisdom, scientific knowledge and the teaching of plants. I'm a bit of a science nerd. I'm interested in science and how it intersects with everything, including spirituality. This book really ties those two together.

"The author, Robin Wall Kimmerer, is a scientist and professor of environmental biology and I think she has taken the best of what she learned going through school of science and in her scientific community. She also has this incredible wealth of knowledge as an Indigenous woman... She tells a lot of stories in the book about her love for plants and the teachings that were passed down to her from the people in her family when she was growing up."

Alysha Brilla's comments have been edited for length and clarity.

Watch Alysha Brilla perform Centre, featuring Sridaya Srivatsan



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