Nathalie Picard, Huron-Wendat musician and composer, was born in Quebec City. Of the turtle clan, Shendaehwas, her Huron-Wendat name, studied flute at the Music Conservatory of Quebec and at the University of Montreal where she received a Bachelor of Music degree in jazz and electronic music composition. In Havana, Cuba, she worked with master flautist Richard Egues in 1995, and at the Florida International University in Miami in 1997 with Latin-jazz flautist Nestor Torrès.
Her musical career follows five specific paths: flute (jazz and world music, Amerindian flutes, Native American Indian traditional chanting, musical recreation in studio (digital recording, editing and mixing for soundtracks or research/archives work) and children shows (storytelling with music, workshops and teaching). A major aim of her work is the expression of the close relationship between Indigenous Peoples and nature through the use of traditional Amerindian instruments, including a transverse Iroquoian flute made from a deer bone, a whistle sculptured from a moose phalanx, traditional Native American Indian flutes of red cedar or pine wood, and many other flutes and instruments for imitating birds, wind, rain, ocean, frog sounds, etc.
Through the years, she has played with different musical groups (Latin-jazz, Cuban, Brazilian, Native American Indian, jazz, reggae, funk, contemporary, classical, etc.) at the Montreal International Jazz Festival (in 2003 with Yoel Diaz’s Cuban Jazz Band), Fredericton Harvest Jazz Festival in N.B., Tito Puente’s show at the Metropolis, with the Kalimba group and Brazilian guitarist Luc Fortin, at the Medley in Montreal, at the Traditional and Aboriginal Showcase of the Canadian Arts Council in 1998, with the Montreal Flute Ensemble, Quebec Symphony Orchestra, and at many Amerindian events. In 1999, she made a tour in France (Lille, Bordeaux, Lyon, Strasbourg) for Le Printemps du Québec, where she also played with Florent Vollant in Les Jardins des Tuileries in Paris. In July 2000, she was invited to St-Malo (France) by the Office Franco-Québécois pour la Jeunesse to present shows for two weeks on Quebec First Nations music and culture. From 2000 to the present, she has presented many shows or workshops on Amerindian music and culture often at the invitation of Les Jeunesses Musicales in Hungary, Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, and in Canada. In April 2001, she was invited to play for a private reception in Toronto for Prince Charles, the Prince of Wales
In September 2003, her appearance on APTN was as an invited guest at Buffalo Tracks TV show in Toronto. The next month, 12 October, she gave a concert at Toronto Harbour Front. During the fall of 2003 and 2004 she gave workshops and shows at the First Nations Garden in Montreal Botanical Garden. Picard appeared as invited soloist with the Ottawa National Arts Centre Orchestra, in concerts for children, and a tour in British Colombia in November 2004. She participated in Vancouver’s 2004 International Storytelling Festival. More concerts took place as an invited soloist with Ottawa’s National Arts Centre Orchestra in January and March 2005. Picard was part of the Indigenous music show “Soleil Levant 2005” at Théatre l’Impérial in Quebec. Recently she was an invited guest at Didier Mélon’s radio show « Le monde est un village » RTBF, National Belgium Radio.
In December 1999, she realized and produced her first solo CD of her compositions on Native American Indian flutes. She has composed soundtracks for the Museum of Civilization in Quebec, for the official CD of Les Fêtes de la Nouvelle-France celebration in Quebec and for Le Printemps du Québec event in Paris. Her recording sessions Include those involving Bruno Pelletier (Notre-Dame-de-Paris), Florent Vollant (Kashtin), Rejean Bouchard, at Oniro Studio, for an IMAX movie on Ernest Hemmingway, flutes on Le Survenant movie, and for soundtracks for music therapy. She has worked as a sound editor assistant for the National Film Board of Canada.
During the years 2003-05 she actively worked as a primary teacher in the Wendake school. She continues to provide sessions and workshops to bring them their traditional language, arts, and music-making. As part of this effort, she began to write songs in her Huron-Wendat language and accompany herself with a traditional drum. She also taught at the Collège Notre-Dame-De-Foy in 2008-09.
For over 30 years she has performed and presented Canadian First Nations’ music and culture in Canada, France, Belgium, Germany, Hungary, Italy and USA and at events such as Ottawa’s National Arts Center Symphonic Orchestra tour, Canada Day Concert in Ottawa, Vancouver International Storytelling Festival, Montreal International Jazz festival, and the American Indian Music festival at Casa Grande Ruins in Arizona. In 2010, she formed the duo, Visions of Sound, with Native Anishinaabeg flutist/flute-maker Dennis Hatch. She moved to the United States in 2012 and was selected for the Smithsonian’s National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI) Artist Leadership Program in 2014. Her short film “Ikwäas, we sing, nous chantons ” can be seen on the NMAI’s website and on Youtube: http://youtu.be/9E57Olh_3zM. Frequently she returns to her home community in Canada to present learning sessions, and to perform.
Press – Critical Acclaim
From Chagnon, 13 juin 1999:
…c’est une autre connaissance amérindienne qui a fait à halte Leymieus. Nathalie Picard, Huron Wendat de la grande famille iroquoniennes a effectué en France la grande tournée Printemps de Québec. Après Rouen, Lille, Bordeaux, Lyon, elle s’est arrêtée chez Marc [Bissardon] avant de poursuivre sur Strasbourg, occasion unique pour faire profiter les enfants de l’école d’une découverte de la musique traditionelle amérindienne.
Ils étaient une sointaine assis en demi cercle bouche bée pour couter tout ce que l‘on peut tirer d’instruments artisanaux originaux: flûte en cèdre rouge, os de chevreuil, phalange d’original, tambour de peau d’original … Accompagnées aux percussions par Manu M’hou elle a offert un spectacle insolite. Les enfants ont entendu une vraie histoire en musique. Le vent, une Kyrielle d’oiseaux, les oies sauvages… Une promenade dans la nature sans quitter le classe! Jouent des airs traditionées ou des compositions personnelles, elle a offert aux gamins un moment de rêve et de dépaysement. Vêtre d’un gilet cuir aux broderies traditionelles, ses explications révélèrent bien des mystères sur ces habits originaux et ces instruments insolites. Un petit moment de bonheur, de fraîcheur de naturel dans une civilisation matérialiste qui a oublié certaines valeurs essentielles.
Messages du vent / Listening through the wind, Nathalie Picard 1999. Musique originale, original composition. Flutes amérindienne / Native American Indian flutes.
Te llego, Yoel Diaz 2003. Jazz cubain / Cuban jazz ensemble
Oniro, Jean-François Linteau – Australian Didjeridoo, 2005 . World music
Le survenant, 2005, Michel Corriveau. Flûtes pour musique de film / flutes on movie soundtrack for movie
Nomade, Musée de La Civilisation de Québec- Quebec Museum of Civilization, compilation de bande sonore d’expositions / compilation of soundracks
Album officiel des fêtes de la Nouvelle-France à Québec, vol.1-2 [Maluron, luré]-3, réalisation François Leclerc.
Musique du monde pour enfants vol. 2 / world music for children vol. 2, La Montagne secrète production, 2003.
Listening Through the Wind: Yerikhwenhawi Niuskwas. 2013. Nathalie Picard 620675133829
In Her Own Words
I want to make others and particularly children aware of the rich musical heritage of my people. That is why I play instruments including a replica of a deer bone transverse flute found at the Iroquoian archeological site at Tracy, Quebec and a moose bone whistle. The transverse flute has four finger holes and is about six inches long. You can find a drawing at pages 61, 72 and a short description of my use on page 142 of the book; Archéologie sonore, chants amérindiens, by Cécile Tremblay-Matte and Sylvain Rivard (Éditions Trois, 2001. ISBN 2-89516-027-9).
Links and Contact Information
https://www.ustream.tv/recorded/45945892 [Picard’s presentation from 11:50 to 24:27]