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Jimmie Fox, Darol Anger and Philip Aaberg rehearsing, 1999
Jimmie Fox (Gros Venture/Metis apprentice) Darol Anger and Philip Aaberg rehearsing, 1999. Photo courtesy Northern Plains Folklife Resources

The Metis Project: When They Awake

Helena Presents, a production, presentation and film center based in Helena, Montana, created and produced When They Awake, a celebration of the extraordinary legacy of fiddle music of the Metis people. The project explores the musical and social legacy of a tribe without boundaries, whose heritage results from marriage between Indians and Europeans throughout the Northern Plains from Sault St. Marie, Michigan, to Choteau, Montana, across both sides of the 49th parallel. Central to the project is the creation of a new musical work that references the indigenous American rhythms and diverse European fiddle heritage that is present in Metis music. The name of the presentation is based on a prediction of Louis Riel, a teacher, writer, and hero to the Metis people:

My people will sleep for one hundred years, but when they awake, it will be the artists who give them their spirit back. 

This new musical work was created and adapted in collaboration between a master Metis fiddler, a folklorist/scholar, and two composer/musicians. Composer/performers Philip Aaberg and Darol Anger collaborated with master Metis fiddler, Jimmie LaRocque.

Project documentation comprises six pages of text, including a Metis cultural overview; a biographical article on Jimmie LaRocque; seven photos; and a DAT tape of a work session of Jimmy LaRocque, Darol Anger, and Philip Aaberg on the Metis project at the Myrna Loy Theater in Helena.

Originally submitted by: Max Baucus, Senator.

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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