Today, Elisapie surprises us with Isumagijunnaitaungituq (The Unforgiven), an emotionally charged adaptation of Metallica's The Unforgiven, which premiered yesterday via Rolling Stone Magazine. This is the third single off Inuktitut, Elisapie’s upcoming album, out via Bonsound on September 15th, 2023. On this National Indigenous People’s Day, Elisapie will receive an honorary degree from Concordia University for her Inuktitut artistry and activism. She also produced and participated in the TV special Le grand solstice, which will be broadcast tonight.
Following the release of the singles Uummati Attanarsimat (Heart of Glass) and Taimangalimaaq (Time After Time), Elisapie’s new song pays tribute to the Inuit men of her community. It is also a nod to the time she interviewed Kirk Hammett from Metallica in the early 90s:
When I was 14 years old, I applied for a job at TNI, the first Inuit TV-radio broadcaster, and I was thrilled when I was chosen for the position! Everyone at the station dreamed big, and they put in a request for an interview with Metallica. The band was so loved in Salluit that we had to give it a shot. Metallica accepted only two interviews on their Québec tour, and TNI was chosen. In my boys' eyes, I was the coolest!
As a teenager, I only wanted to hang around the gang of boys in my village. We would all go to my cousin's house and smoke weed while listening to Metallica. The band's music allowed us to delve into the darkness of our broken souls and feel good there. Men's roles in our territory had been challenged by colonization, and it had become confusing what life was supposed to look like for a man. My boys were seeking new roles, and subconsciously, I allowed them to be my bodyguards so they could feel strong. Looking back, I was trying to give them the strength to find their place.
Isumagijunnaitaungituq (The Unforgiven) incorporates throat singing, known as katajjaq in Inuktitut. It felt like katajjaq was so appropriate, says Elisapie. It is Inuit women who throat sing. Inuit women, mothers and grandmothers had to be the nurturing ones during the hard times, as men were struggling emotionally due to colonialism. Through this song, I wanted the feminine strength to balance the men's challenges.
Elisapie's new song is accompanied by a breathtaking music video directed by Philippe Léonard. It was shot in Nunavik aboard a canoe, using a camera attached to the end of a pole, like a fishing rod. The footage oscillates between the emerald seabed bursting with light and the deep blue sky, which makes the sensual silhouettes of the tundra mountains stand out, explains the director.
Inuktitut is Elisapie’s fourth solo album. With these 10 covers of classic rock and pop songs from the 60s to the 90s, she reinvigorates their poetry thanks to the raw sounds of the thousand-year-old Inuit language and gives each track a unique and deeply personal quality. Every song from the album is linked to a loved one or an intimate story that has shaped the person Elisapie is today. Through this act of cultural reappropriation, she tells her story and offers these songs as a gift to her community, making her language and culture resonate beyond the borders of the Inuit territory.
Elisapie will be taking her new album to the stage on a 50-date tour. In addition to her regular tour, there will be five performances of Uvattini, a special live show presented exclusively at Usine C and the Grand Théâtre de Québec. Additional dates have been announced for December 9th in Montreal and December 21st in Quebec City. This summer, Elisapie will also travel to Salluit and Kuujjuaq to premiere her new show. More concerts are scheduled in France in November 2023 and April 2024. See the list below or visit elisapie.com for more details.
Elisapie's unconditional attachment to her territory and her language, Inuktitut, remains at the core of her creative journey. Born and raised in Salluit, a small village in Nunavik which is only accessible by plane, Elisapie is an emblematic Canadian Inuk singer-songwriter. Since winning her first Juno Award in 2005 with her band Taima, Elisapie’s body of work has been praised many times. Her 2018 album The Ballad of the Runaway Girl was shortlisted for the Polaris Music Prize, and earned her numerous Félix Awards as well as a Juno nomination. Since then, the Inuk artist performed with the Orchestre Métropolitain de Montréal at the invitation of Yannick Nézet-Séguin, at the SummerStage Festival in New York City’s Central Park, and at the NPR offices for her own Tiny Desk Session, as well as at several local and international venues and festivals. Always surrounded by the best musicians from the Montreal indie and folk scenes, Elisapie makes her culture resonate with finesse by mixing modernity and tradition.
28/06/2023 - Salluit, QC - Salluit Spring Music Festival
16/08/2023 - Kuujjuaq, QC - Aqpik Jam Music festival
06/10/2023 - Val-Morin, QC - Théâtre du Marais
07/11/2023 - Château Arnoux, FR - Théâtre Durance
09/11/2023 - Saint-Malo, FR - La Nouvelle Vague
10/11/2023 - Brest, FR - Cabaret Vauban
16/11/2023 - Nantes, FR - Trempo
07/12/2023 - Montréal, QC - Usine C (Uvattini) - SOLD OUT
08/12/2023 - Montréal, QC - Usine C (Uvattini) - SOLD OUT
09/12/2023 - Montréal, QC - Usine C (Uvattini)
20/12/2023 - Québec City, QC - Salle Louis-Fréchette - Grand Théâtre de Québec (Uvattini)
21/12/2023 - Québec City, QC - Salle Louis-Fréchette - Grand Théâtre de Québec (Uvattini)
18/01/2024 - Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, QC - Salle Albert-Dumouchel
19/01/2024 - Brossard, QC - Le Club DIX30
20/01/2024 - Sherbrooke, QC - Théâtre Granada
24/01/2024 - Joliette, QC - Centre culturel Desjardins
25/01/2024 - Gatineau, QC - Salle Jean-Despréz
26/01/2024 - Chambly, QC - Pôle culturel de Chambly
27/01/2024 - Châteauguay, QC - Pavillon de l'Île
31/01/2024 - Longueuil, QC - Théâtre de la Ville - Salle Pratt & Whitney Canada
01/02/2024 - Mont-Laurier, QC - Espace Théâtre Muni-Spec
02/02/2024 - Saint-Jérôme, QC - Théâtre Gilles-Vigneault
07/02/2024 - Drummondville, QC - Maison des arts Desjardins
08/02/2024 - Victoriaville, QC - Carré 150 - Cabaret Guy-Aubert
09/02/2024 - Sorel-Tracy, QC - Salle Georges-Codling
10/02/2024 - Waterloo, QC - Maison de la culture de Waterloo
15/02/2024 - Saint-Eustache, QC - Le Zénith Promutuel Assurance
16/02/2024 - Mont-Tremblant, QC - L'Église du Village
17/02/2024 - Sainte-Geneviève, QC - Salle Pauline-Julien
22/02/2024 - Repentigny, QC - Théâtre Alphonse-Desjardins
23/02/2024 - Shawinigan, QC - Salle Philippe-Filion
24/02/2024 - Laval, QC - Salle André-Mathieu
01/03/2024 - Lévis, QC - L'Anglicane
02/03/2024 - Thetford-Mines, QC - Le Vitrail
27/03/2024 - Ottawa, ON - Azrieli Studio - National Arts Centre
28/03/2024 - Toronto, ON - TD Music Hall
04/04/2024 - Annecy, FR - Le Brise Glace
06/04/2024 - Guyancourt, FR - La Batterie
12/04/2024 - Figeac, FR - L’Astrolabe
13/04/2024 - Cenon, FR - Le Rocher de Palmer
02/05/2024 - Lachine, QC - L'Entrepôt
09/05/2024 - Val-d'Or, QC - Théâtre Télébec
10/05/2024 - La Sarre, QC - Salle Desjardins
11/05/2024 - Ville-Marie, QC - Théâtre du Rift
14/11/2024 - Terrebonne, QC - Théâtre du Vieux-Terrebonne
15/11/2024 - Saint Damien, QC - Maison de la culture de Bellechasse
16/11/2024 - Saint-Casimir, QC - Les Grands Bois
21/11/2024 - Sainte-Thérèse, QC - Théâtre Lionel-Groulx
22/11/2024 - Sainte-Agathe-des-Monts, QC - Théâtre Le Patriote
23/11/2024 - LaSalle, QC - Théâtre Desjardins
29/11/2024 - Saint-Hyacinthe, QC - Centre des arts Juliette-Lassonde
30/11/2024 - Trois-Rivières, QC - Salle Anaïs-Allard-Rousseau