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Mali Obomsawin Sextet

Mali Obomsawin photo image 2

3/24/23: Mali Obomsawin Sextet, Sweet Tooth Tour

7:00pm, Emery Performance Space

Free and open to the public

Seating is limited, please use our reservation form if you would like to reserve your seat in advance.

SWEET TOOTH: A suite for Indigenous resistance, the new album from Wabanaki bassist, composer, and songwriter Mali Obomsawin flies in the face of Western tropes that insist Indigenous cultures are monolithic, trapped in time. Instead, Obomsawin highlights centuries of clever adaptation and resistance that have fueled the art and culture of Wabanaki people. Written as a compositional suite, the album Sweet Tooth, released on October 28, 2022 by Out of Your Head Records, blends Wabanaki stories and songs passed down in Obomsawin’s own family with tunes addressing contemporary Indigenous life, colonization, continuity, love and rage. It’s at once intimately personal, featuring field recordings of relatives at Odanak First Nation, but also conveys a larger story of the Wabanaki people, stretching across the domain of their confederacy from Eastern Canada to Southern New England. In three movements, Obomsawin’s powerful compositions honor the Indigenous ability to shape great art from the harshest fires of colonialism. The compositions reveal threads that bind together blues, jazz, hymns, folk songs, and Native cultures, and foreground the breadth and continuity of Indigenous contributions to these genres. “​​Telling Indigenous stories through the language of jazz is not a new phenomenon,” Obomsawin explains. “My people have had to innovate endlessly to get our stories heard – learning to express ourselves in French, English, Abenaki… but sometimes words fail us, and we must use sound. Sweet Tooth is a testament to this.” Sweet Tooth is a celebration of Indigenous innovation, and an ingeniously envisioned debut for this composer-bandleader.

Sweet Tooth is performed by Mali Obomsawin 6tet, which features Mali Obomsawin, Zack O’Farrill, Miriam Elhajli, Allison Burik, Noah Campbell, and Allison Philips.


Mali Obomsawin photo imageMALI OBOMSAWIN (they/she) is an award winning bassist, songwriter and composer from Abenaki First Nation at Odanak. With an expansive background in American roots, rock, and jazz, Obomsawin carries several music traditions. Mali’s debut album Sweet Tooth has received international acclaim since its release (Out of Your Head Records 2022), including rave reviews and “best of 2022” placement in The Guardian, JazzTimes, and NPR. A Smithsonian Folkways Recordings artist, they spent the years 2014-2021 touring internationally with beloved folk-rock band Lula Wiles. An in-demand bassist in the folk and jazz circuits, Mali appears often as an accompanist with contemporaries like Jake Blount and Lizzie No, and has performed at premier festivals like Newport and Philly Folk Fest. She can also be found in galleries and creative music spaces with the likes of Peter Apfelbaum, Taylor Ho Bynum, and Bill Cole’s Untempered Ensemble. In addition to their artistic work, Obomsawin is a community organizer dedicated to land justice and tribal sovereignty.

photo credit: Abby & Jared Lank

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