Canadian Inuk singer Elisapie arrived at It’s A School Night this past Monday at Bardot in Hollywood, performing songs from her new album, Inuktitut. All ten tracks cover a variety of iconic rock and pop songs — ones she grew up listening to in her home village of Salluit — which she reimagines into stunning Inuit ballads.
Inspired by her babysitter’s music taste and her uncle’s, who was in a 70s Arctic surf rock band called the Sugluk, Elisapie released Inuktitut in their memory and as an homage to her native tongue.
Rock classics like “Time After Time” by Cindy Lauper and “Going to California” by Led Zeppelin are repurposed into “Taimangalimaaq” and “Californiamut” (respectively). Elisapie’s raspy, Blondie-esq vocals give each song a new life as she commands the stage and rocks out with her live band.
One thing for sure is that Elispie’s covers are more than that. I would like to call them reimaginings. In a time where sampling is easily accessible, and we can’t turn on the radio without hearing a complete remake of one of our childhood songs, Elisapie gives these songs a whole new breath. While there’s a familiarity — the tonality, due to the Inuit language, and her complex emotions run through these songs like water in a valley, transporting you into vast lands and your childhood family road trips of yesteryear.
My favorite song of the night was “Isumagijunnaitaungituq,” Elisapie’s reimagining of “The Unforgiven” by Metalica. Her voice had so much emotion as she belted out the words on the Bardot velvety red stage. It’s remarkable. I have the song on repeat as I write these words.
If Elisapie is in your city, I suggest you catch her performance live. She is an artist you shouldn’t miss.
Photos and Words By Asha Moné