Toni alossaan (Where are you going?)

Alejandra Odgers


After completing her musical studies in Mexico and obtaining a bachelor’s degree in composition and oboe, Alejandra Odgers moved to Quebec, where she earned a doctorate in composition from the Université de Montréal. Her works are performed in Europe as well as on the American continent, and she has won many awards in Mexico and Canada. She recently received Mécénat Musica’s prestigious Prix 3 Femmes, which will allow her to compose an opera based on Abenaki legends. Odgers draws inspiration from sources of western art music and from traditional Mexican and indigenous music.

Discovering Abenaki legends and songs during a visit to the Maison amérindienne led to the composition of Toni alossan. The composer found herself confronting a new challenge: creating music respectful of the character of the indigenous melodies while also composing a new work that associates western and traditional music. Toni alossan is built in the form of an arch and incorporates Abenaki melodies. Two horns open and close the work, and each of the Amerindian songs is assigned to an instrument family, giving the song its own personality. In the orchestra, drums, congas and bongos evoke the double-skinned drum used to accompany indigenous singing. The maracas depict Abenaki rattles.

“With this work, I wanted to pay a modest tribute to all who help maintain the songs, traditions and legends across time.” – Alejandra Odgers

© 2022 Florence Leyssieux
Translation by Craig Schweickert