Nuyamł-ił Kulhulmx, or Singing the Earth, is a response to the people, environment and spirit of the Bella Coola Valley of coastal British Columbia. It draws on historical and contemporary sources in four languages—Nuxalk, Norwegian, English and Japanese—to create 11 short pieces about an isolated and beautiful place. Singing the Earth is the collaborative artistic effort of Anna Höstman (composer), Dylan Robinson, Patrick Nickleson and Marion Newman, with the kind support and assistance of the people of the Bella Coola Valley.
The work examines the irreconcilable differences between Indigenous and Western ideas of art, song, and epistemology. Dylan Robinson writes in the program notes that for the First Peoples of the Pacific Northwest, songs “are oral records of family and community history. They convey knowledge about the natural and spirit worlds. They reproach leaders for not upholding their responsibilities toward their community. In some instances, songs act as records of land-title, as law. In other cases songs are used to heal.” In sum, “Songs are much more than songs.” Singing the Earth is a collection of eccentricities—as much an archive of interviews, photographs, video, erasure poems, ethnography, and history as it is a concert piece and installation.