Listen to Nova Scotia teenager sing Blackbird in Mi’kmaq

Emma Stevens' cover of the Beatles song has already been viewed nearly 200,000 times on YouTube
blackbird mi'kmaq "Pu'tliskiej wapinintoq..." What does this phrase have to do with a blackbird? Read on! (© Kaido Rummel -

Picking out the best Beatles song is a nearly impossible task. But certainly one of the most tender and pretty tunes in their legendary catalogue is "Blackbird". This song is essentially a solo performance by Paul McCartney on an acoustic guitar (there are also some birds in the background chirping there, too...).

Its theme of a small, wounded bird learning to fly and find freedom is a universal one that means a lot to people. Many musicians have covered the song, too, including Nova Scotia teenager Emma Stevens.

This 16 year-old recently recorded her own cover of it. Since uploading it to YouTube on April 25, she's received nearly 200,000 views. But there's something unique about her version. It's sung completely in Indigenous language of Mi'kmaq.

Putting her language in the spotlight

Currently, there are less than 10,000 people who speak Mi'kmaq. Emma is one of them, and she saw this cover as a chance to share her culture with others.

"My culture is one of the biggest things in my life," she told CBC. "So sharing it with others outside of the community, and people who don't speak Mi'kmaq and don't really understand it, it gives them a different perspective and shows them that our language is very beautiful."

To translate the lyrics, she got help from a Mi'kmaq language teacher Katani Julian. Though McCartney's English words didn't always have an exact Mi'k-match, Julian was able to use the song's message to deliver lyrics that spoke to the song — as well as ones that fit (Mi'kmaq words tend to be longer than English ones).

The final result is pretty terrific. We're going to listen again!

3 commentsWrite a message

Tell US what you think

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


 :-)  ;-)  :-D  :-(  :-P  :-o  :-x  :-|  :-?  8-)  8-O  :cry:  :lol:  :roll:  :idea:  :!:  :?:  :oops:

The last 10 Entertainment articles