Donita Large Hails the Power of Her Lineage in “Ancestors in My Bones”
Indigenous blues singer/songwriter Donita Large pays tribute to the power of her heritage in her new single “Ancestors in My Bones” — available now. The song sheds light on a person’s lineage playing a strong role in the choices they make and the person they become.
“When in circle and we pray, an Elder will say, ‘Pray in your own way. All beliefs are respected in the circle,’” Donita says.
She shares that the song is certain to speak to those who feel an ancestral connection around the globe.
“I want my listeners to know that this prayer is shared with the same intention,” Donita says.
The song begins with full, reverberating drum beats — the kind you can feel down in your bones — and a Cree prayer, recited by Donita’s father, Frank. A rattle begins its pebbly, rhythmic shake and then rich guitar; Donita’s voice is soulful and crystal clear, calling on the power of those who came before her.
I feel the ancestors in my bones
They’re calling me to protect my home
Mother Earth is crying for us to atone
I cannot do this alone
The lyrics take a journey from individual experience to a universal understanding as Donita asks her listeners, “Do you feel the ancestors in your bones? / Are they calling you to protect your home?”
It’s a message that struck Donita as she was heading home many years ago from a voice-intensive workshop in Banff, AB. The phrase, ‘I feel the ancestors in my bones’ stayed with her as she first shared these words during a voice group session. She recalls immediately pulling over to the side of the road to scribble down these lyrics.
For years, she sang the song accompanied by a hand drum or rattle, as a means to honour the stories of her Cree and Métis ancestors at events. For the song’s recording more instruments were included.
Award winning producer, Chris Birkett produced her song and is well-known for producing five of singer/songwriter and activist Buffy Sainte-Marie’s albums. Chris presented Donita with a master of “Ancestors in My Bones” less than two months after their introduction.
“I had tears streaming down my face when I heard it for the first time,” Donita shares. “All I could say was, ‘nailed it!’”
“Ancestors in My Bones” follows Donita’s debut single, “Going To Walk That Line;” released this past summer, and produced by Cindy Paul. The song soared to hit number one on the Indigenous Music Countdown — a rare case for a new artist, and telling of Donita’s inimitable talent.
“Ancestors in My Bones” is available now.