“Wake up from your slumber sleeping beast. It’s time breathe again, it’s time to see again. You were born, you were born to be the greatest of all… It’s time to roar, like you did when you were king.”
These are some of the lyrics from the title track of Diyet’s new album, When You Were King, released this summer. They speak to the need for all of us to connect with the person we were meant to be, and to make a difference in our own lives and in the world
The songs in this album have roots in the struggles and chaos Diyet has witnessed in her own community, but with recognition that these struggles are experienced everywhere, and touch us all. Diyet, who describes herself as a Southern Tutchone-Japanese-Tlingit-Scottish-Yukoner, grew up in Burwash Landing, earned a degree in music in Vancouver, and returned to her hometown in 2010 to pursue a career in music from her community.
That year, she released her first CD, called The Breaking Point, which was nominated for Best New Artist and Songwriter of the Year at the Aboriginal People’s Choice Music Awards in 2010 and 2011 and Album of the Year at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards. In addition, The Breaking Point remained on the Canadian Aboriginal Music Countdown for 24 weeks.
Her second album, When You Were King, is full of compassion and hope. Consider the song “8th Wonder.”
“I originally wrote this song for my mom,” Diyet says “As an adult, when I finally got to know my mom as a friend, she told me a little about residential school and I was blown away. As the song evolved, it’s not just about mom anymore. It’s about all the children, so hurt, never understood, and never listened to. My mom came out on top and she’s a pretty awesome person.”
The song, like so many others on the album, shows you pain, but then leaves you with hope in lyrics like “No more lost children on their own.”
The song “Like A Drum” settles into your heart and makes itself an anthem of compassion. For two weeks after I first heard it I was chanting, “Oh, my heart, oh-oh-oh, my heart, beats like a drum, like a drum for you.”
I can’t count the number of times I got goosebumps as the music carried Diyet’s stories beyond my brain to my heart.
According to Diyet, this synergy is due to the high level of collaboration with the other two artists on the album — her husband and percussionist Robert van Lieshout, and Bob Hamilton, who produced the album and played all the stringed instruments. “We said, ‘let’s trust each other. Let’s have fun and take our time. Let’s just make these songs the best they can be,'” Diyet says.
They did a good job.
Diyet’s next goal is to bring the music of the album to as many of the Yukon’s communities as possible.
The album is very easy to listen to. The rhythms are true to Diyet’s roots and incorporate soundscapes that are complex enough to carry through many, many, many repetitions.
To me, they sound like home.
This September and October they want to get to places like Pelly Crossing and other communities that don’t often make the tour list. This year they’ve played in Whitehorse a couple of times, in Teslin and in Haines Junction. They will spend the rest of the winter planning a larger tour for next spring and summer.
The album, When You Were King, is available for purchase online at www.DiyetMusic.com.