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Terri-Lynn Williams-Davidson

Named Best Female Artist at the 2011 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, Terri-Lynn creates music that is innovative and healing, combining ancient Haida words with beautiful contemporary soundscapes. Motivated to share her indigenous culture with a wider audience, and bring renewal to her ancestral language, the CD bridges traditional with contemporary and has been acknowledged with many awards nominations and recognition since its release in 2011.

Along with being a well-known lawyer representing the Haida Nation in the area of aboriginal-environmental law. Terri-Lynn’s life’s work and passion has been to preserve the Haida songs of her culture. Born in Haida Gwaii off the west coast of Canada, Terri-Lynn has been a promoter of Haida music since the age of 13. She began singing Haida songs at a time when there were few Haida singers practising this musical tradition. As a young girl, she was drawn to the songs her great-grandmother and grandmother sang and sought out more of the music which she subsequently helped rescue from obscurity. For her work, which has spanned over 30 years and has helped bring renewal to Haida songs, she received a “Keeper of Traditions” Canadian Aboriginal Music Award in 2008.

Terri-Lynn founded the Haida Gwaii Singers Society with other veteran Haida singers including her husband, artist Robert Davidson in 2000. As executive producer, fundraiser, project coordinator, writer and researcher for the project she was instrumental in producing archival and new recordings of over 450 traditional Haida songs. The two CD collections, “Songs of Haida Gwaii: Haida Gwaii Singers Anthology” (contemporary recordings) and “Songs of Haida Gwaii: Archival Anthology” are now part of museum and school collections and preserve songs that might otherwise have been lost.

One of the CD’s from the Contemporary box set featuring Terri-Lynn as a solo singer: Lalaxaaygans: Beautiful Sound, received the “Best Female Traditional / Cultural Roots” award at the 2009 Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards (CAMA).

In June 2011 Terri-Lynn released her first solo CD with original compositions - New Journeys – a collaboration with renowned classical composer Bruce Ruddell. Adding instrumentation to songs sung in the Haida language is a new and ground-breaking concept introduced on this CD, intended to build a bridge for a wider audience to appreciate the beauty of the Haida language and musical traditions.

Terri-Lynn has recorded for film and television. Her voice has graced potlatches, exhibitions, ceremonies and conferences throughout the world including Indonesia, Italy, Amsterdam and New York.

“Learning the Haida language through Haida songs led to an interest in ceremonies, medicines, and other cultural knowledge. I learned that the songs come from the land, and are a reflection of the land. From this basis, I was inspired to become a lawyer to protect the land. All are connected.” Terri-Lynn Williams Davidson