Sultans of String and Northern Cree Release “Nîmihito (Dance)” And Announce 2023 Tour Dates

“Nîmihito (Dance)” is a collaboration between 3x JUNO nominated, 4x CFMA winning Sultans of String and Northern Cree, a nine-time Grammy nominated pow wow and round dance group from Treaty 6 territory in Canada, who have released more than 50 albums over their 40-year history.

It is the first single off the upcoming Sultans of String album entitled Walking Through the Fire (Sept 22, 2023 release), the most ambitious and important project of their career, a CD and concert of collaborations with First Nations, Metis, and Inuit artists across Turtle Island.

“We are creating this recording in the spirit of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s 94 Calls to Action, and Final Report that asks for Indigenous and non-Indigenous people to work together as an opportunity to show a path forward” says Sultans of String bandleader and violinist Chris McKhool, who was recently awarded the Dr. Duke Redbird Lifetime Achievement Award from the JAYU Festival For Human Rights x Arts.

Steve Wood from Northern Cree continues: “When you’re collaborating with mainstream music, it shows that we can work together to bring out the very best in who we are as human beings. And that’s what music does. It shows that we can work together and we can bring out something very beautiful. And it’s giving our music an opportunity for a different type of audience out there. There’s a lot of people that are just catching on to our type of music, which has been here since time immemorial. I think it’s great.”

The Cree lyrics, written by Leroy Woodstone, talk to the dancer about dancing and dancing hard and feeling the beat of the drum, encouraging the dancer to get down.

But there’s also an educational role in the song, says Steve: “A big, strong component of it is to teach our people and other First Nations people about the Cree language. It’s the very tip of who we are and of our ceremonies, pow wow is. It brings other people into our circle.”

Studio sessions were spread across two provinces, with Northern Cree parts recorded at StudioBell at The National Music Centre in Calgary, produced by The Halluci Nation (Bear Witness, 2oolman) with recording Engineer Graham Lessard. Sultans of String tracks were recorded at Jukasa Studios, an Indigenous-owned world-class recording facility on the Six Nations reserve south of Hamilton Ontario, with Sultans band members Chris McKhool and Kevin Laliberté co-producing along with Grammy and JUNO winning John ‘Beetle’ Bailey.

The two groups met at Kettle and Stony Point’s Annual Pow Wow in the summer of ’22, where Steve shared that “The drum is also a very spiritual tool because when you look at the drum, somebody’s grandparent, mother, father, child gave its life for that head of the drum, because that was an animal, and is very much alive. Now, the rim is made from the tree. And we really look deep, the tree can teach us a lot because they’re alive. They can teach us about the relationships we have with everything around us and everyone else. And that person, those people that came to put that drum together, they had spirits, too. And they put their own spirit in the drum. And that’s where all the energy comes from.

19 JAN – SRSS Theatre, Steinbach, MB
20 JAN – Pinawa Community Centre, Pinawa, MB
21 JAN – William Glesby Centre, Portage la Prairie, MB
5 FEB – Hillside Inside, Guelph, ON
17 MAR – Shelton Auditorium, Shelton, WA
18 MAR – Edmonds Center for the Arts, Edmonds, WA
20 MAR – Poncan Theatre, Ponca City, OK
23 MAR – Fine Arts Center – Western NM University, Silver City, NM
25 MAR – Payson Auditorium, Payson, AZ
27 MAR – Performing Arts Center, Lake Havasu City, AZ
28 MAR – Mohave High School Auditorium, Bullhead City, AZ
30 MAR – Borrego Springs Performing Arts Center, Borrego Springs, CA
15 APR – First Presbyterian Church, Lincoln, NE
12 MAY – Marble Arts Centre, Tweed ON
13 MAY – Bancroft Village Playhouse, Bancroft ON
14 MAY – Bryan Jones Theatre, Lakefield College, Lakefield, ON
26 MAY – Brockville Arts Centre, Brockville, ON