Deantha Edmunds is Canada’s first Inuk classical singer. She is a multi-nominated and award-winning performer, and is much in demand as a singer, actor, and collaborator in both Indigenous and non-Indigenous projects. She is also a member of the Canadian Opera Company’s Circle of Artists.
In July, 2022, Deantha was honoured to perform for Inuit residential school survivors in the presence of His Holiness, Pope Francis in Iqaluit, Nunavut. Her performance was broadcast live across Canada and beyond.
Edmunds released her first original solo album Connections, recorded with the Atlantic String Quartet, on June 21st , 2022. On that National Indigenous Peoples Day, she shared some of her new music at the International Inuit Studies Conference at the Winnipeg Art Gallery-Qaumajuq, home of the world’s largest public collection of contemporary Inuit art.
Her two previous albums were nominated for the East Coast Music Award ‘Indigenous Artist of the Year:’ in 2020 for her solo EP My Beautiful Home, and in 2016 for the album Pillorikput Inuit: Inuktitut Arias for All Seasons.
Deantha was the featured guest artist with Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra in June 2022 on a school tour of Labrador, sharing a special project ‘Harmony in Ulliasuk.’
In May 2022, Deantha gave a presentation about her libretto Irngutaq at the Watershed Festival: Reimagining Music Theatre at Queens University. It will be the first opera by an Inuk composer sung in English and Inuktitut. She also participated in a Song Sharing session at Podium National Choral Conference & Festival in Toronto, speaking about MMIWG2S and teaching the audience part of her original song Legacy, which she performed with Shallaway Youth Choir, NL Deaf Choir and a string quartet.
Deantha sang the anthem of Nunatsiavut, Sons of Labrador/Labradorimiut at the welcoming ceremony of the Royal Visit, when Prince Charles and Camilla arrived in Canada in May, 2022.
In March 2022, Deantha created an original performance piece in response to Tania Willard’s Surrounded/Surrounding. The score is centred on Indigenous land politics and community-based gestures of giving back, and it asks, “How can a score be a call and tool for decolonization?” This performance was part of “Soundings: An Exhibition in Five Parts” that took place at The Rooms Provincial Art Gallery, in partnership with Sound Symposium.
In October 2021, Deantha sang at the opening ceremony of the Frankfurt Book Fair in Germany, the world’s oldest and largest book fair, at which Canada was the guest of honour, and Her Excellency Mary May Simon, the Governor General of Canada was in attendance.
In 2020, Ms. Edmunds represented the province of Newfoundland and Labrador in Against the Grain Theatre’s streamed video-performance Messiah/Complex, accompanied by the Toronto Symphony Orchestra. The project received international acclaim. The Messiah/Complex Digital Album was a 2022 JUNO Nominee for “Classical Album of the Year (Large Ensemble).”
2019 performances included the world premieres of Indigenous operas Shanawdithit with Tapestry Opera/Opera on the Avalon, and the Cree and Sámi double-bill Two Odysseys: Pimootewin and Gállábártnit with Soundstreams/Signal Theatre/Sámi National Theatre Beaivváš. Deantha was one of the recipients of the Dora Award for outstanding Ensemble Work in Two Odysseys.
An urban Inuk, creator and mentor, Edmunds aims to empower Indigenous people and share their stories. She explores and embraces her Indigeneity through creating poems, stories, and songs. Her compositions include “Song of the River,” first performed by Ullugiagâtsuk, the Inuit youth choir from Nunatsiavut, at the Canadian Choral Conductors Association 2018 Podium Festival. Edmunds has mentored young Indigenous musicians in workshops for the Pan Labrador Inuit Youth Choir and
Upcoming performances include the world premiere of Uiesh, composed by Tim Brady with poetry by Innu author Josephine Bacon, with Nouvel Ensemble Moderne at the International First Peoples Festival in Montreal, August 2022. Later in August in Newfoundland, Edmunds looks forward to acting in L’nu playwright Leahdawn Helena’s one-woman play Stolen Sisters, which explores the life and legacy of the Beothuk, an Indigenous people who are culturally extinct due to colonial violence. September brings Deantha to Lisbon, Portugal, where she will be co-presenting at the 2022 Exchange!, an integral component of the World Choral EXPO. Deantha looks forward to performing Sojourn, by Spy Dénommé-Welch and Catherine Magowan on Sept. 30th, the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation, at the Don Wright Faculty of Music at Western University. Later in the fall of 2022, she will be performing at Canada’s longest-running children’s festival, the Labrador Creative Arts Festival in Happy Valley-Goose Bay, as well as the Spirit Song Festival, a celebration of Indigenous Arts and Culture in St. John’s, NL.