Justin Kennick & Marge Bruchac as "Hand in Hand" Performing Algonkian Indian Songs & Stories
Justin Kennick has worked as a professional logger, museum interpreter, and craftsman. He is also a skilled folk dancer and musician.
For his part in "Hand in Hand”, Justin contributes fine background harmonies, and he plays on the drum, rattle, tin whistle, and cedar Indian flute. Justin's ethnic ancestry is Scottish and
English, but his Abenaki kin welcome him as a captive and as a partner
for performances. The W'Abenaki Dancers find him particularly adept at leading audiences in social dances.
Justin Kennick is a lead interpreter and artisan at Old Sturbridge Village, where he practices 19th century-style coopering, farming, and blacksmithing.
Justin has been doing historical re-enacting since 1976, portraying soldiers and common men from the French & Indian War and Revolutionary War eras. He is a proud veteran of the US Navy (1971-75).
Kennick also composes tunes and performs on the Scottish highland pipes. And, he makes handsome custom rustic twig furniture for sale - see "Kennick Woodcraft" on this website.
The duo "Hand in Hand" has been performing northeastern Algonkian Indian music, story, and dance at historical events, museums, and folk festivals since 1994. Their voices blend in warm harmonies, accompanied by hand drum, rattles, and flute, offering songs about
greeting, feasting, dancing, and history. Their repertoire includes both traditional and
contemporary Abenaki songs, combined with anecdotes about local history and folklore. When space permits, they also lead audiences in traditional Native friendship dances.
Bruchac and Kennick have a bicultural partnership that evokes the relationships that emerged during the fur trade era, when Native people sought allies from other tribes and cultures. The duo often wears
regalia based on 18th century Native clothing styles, to illustrate
the savvy inclusion of
European trade goods (cloth, glass beads, silk ribbon, silver, etc.)
in "traditional" Native dress. Their performances primarily focus on Native American Indian history and culture, but they are both skilled in interpreting other aspects of colonial American history, music, material culture, and folklore.
"Hand in Hand" has performed at the Champlain Valley Festival, First Nations Festival, Fort Ticonderoga, Missisquoi Abenaki Powwow, Mashantucket Pequot Museum, Mystic Seaport Sea Music Festival, Old Songs Festival, and many other venues, including two tours of the northern Netherlands and Germany in 1999-2000. Their 1999 audio recording, titled "Zahkiwi Lintowoganal/ Voices in the Woods" (Good Mind Records), features 3 Native stories, 5 traditional Abenaki
songs, 3 original songs in English, and 5 original songs in the