Elisapie
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Elisapie

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"Elisapie"

There Will Be Stars is the new work of Inuk singer, composer, and filmmaker Elisapie Isaac. This, her first solo recording, is the much anticipated follow-up to the internationally acclaimed, award winning duo Taima which she co-founded with guitarist/composer Alain Auger in 2001. The album came out in Canada via Maple Music, is already halfway to Canadian Gold Certification, and is due for digital release in the US in February 2011.

There Will Be Stars is not so much an album as a seduction from somewhere distant, somewhere otherworldly. Sometimes full of joy, sometimes lined with melancholy, at times pop, at times folk, at times sung poems from the North - is it Polar pop? Arctic Electric? New cool?

Elisapie Isaac was born of an Inuk mother and a Newfoundland father. She was adopted at birth by an Inuit family and was raised in the isolated community of Salluit, Nunavik - the Great North.

For Elisapie, the North is not at the top of the world, it's at the center of her world. "My grandfather used to say that to avoid getting lost," Elisapie says, "you always have to look where you've come from." There Will Be Stars is a record that looks to where this artist has come from... here and now.

It has been said that the great singers are first and foremost great communicators. Elisapie Isaac's life's work has been communicating; first on radio, then on TV, and then on film with her award winning National Film Board documentary If The Weather Permits. In addition, she has personally connected with fans through her live performances, doing nearly 100 shows in Canada over the past year.

She continues that tradition with There Will Be Stars. A few listens in and you will start to realize that Elisapie has a deep respect for both the profoud and the party.

There Will Be Stars is a constellation of music from our universe. - Musebox


"Inuk singer Elisapie Isaac breaks with tradition"

For ethnologically oriented folk-music fans, listening to Elisapie Isaac's There Will Be Stars is sure to challenge some deep-rooted prejudices—not because she sings in her native language, Inuktitut, but because, very often, she doesn't. “Where's the throat singing?” they might ask, referring to the exotic and sometimes deeply erotic vocal sounds that have become emblematic of the Canadian North. But there's no throat singing on the former Taima vocalist's solo debut. Instead, There Will Be Stars asks one simple question: why shouldn't an Inuk make pop music?

“Yeah!” says Isaac, reached at home in Montreal. Speaking in Québécois-accented English, she explains that she enjoys everything from '50s rock 'n' roll to Leonard Cohen, as do most of her peers. “I mean, that's what we've listened to since the past 40 years,” she continues. “We're very influenced by Neil Young, Bob Dylan, and country music, and we've been making music like this for a long time. There are many other artists like me who've made albums in the last 20 years, and we're all very touched by folk music and the Americana sound. So it's nothing new. I didn't invent that at all.”

What she has invented, however, is a new and poetic approach to Inuktitut. Most of There Will Be Stars is sung in English, with one track—Québécois folksinger and filmmaker Richard Desjardins's “Moi, Elsie”—in French. But it's the three songs in the Inuk language that stand out.

“Inuk” was inspired by the suicide of a cousin—an all-too-common occurrence in the desolate North. “It starts by saying how he once walked these lands, like many others before him,” Isaac explains. “But then he couldn't even feel the cold anymore. We're from a very harsh, cold environment, but he was just numb, I think. So that's how the song starts, and then it ends up saying, ‘When did Inuk become weak? We're strong, very proud people.'

“It's a song that sounds very harsh, but it's a very uplifting song at the same time,” she adds. “It's very direct. So it's a great song, and it's fun to do in the show also.”

Album opener “Navvaatara”, in contrast, compares the thought of a lover to a warm breeze from the south.

“Nobody would really say that, because it's so not realistic,” Isaac says, laughing. “Inuktitut is a very straightforward language. You don't hear anything superpoetic, like you do in English or French. So I had to invent a lot of new ways of talking, like a lot of metaphor. But it's fun to dress my language up and make it beautiful—and it shows that there's new ways of thinking and of seeing things, too.” - Straight


"Review: Elisapie Isaac’s first solo CD"

A friend calls it Inuit Lounge Music.

And perhaps that’s not a bad way to describe Elisapie Isaac’s new CD, as long as you know it’s meant as a complement.

Because There Will Be Stars, Isaac’s first solo CD is a delightful piece of pop candy that somehow manages to deliver serious emotional impact and honesty, while still being fun to listen to, and to swirl around the kitchen to in dreamy reverie.

Isaac’s voice and vocal delivery can be strong, but never overpowering, like on the standout cut, “Nothing In This World is Free,” when she sings: “nothing in this world is free, but I will find my way back to me.”

And yet sometimes, on the sadder songs, she presents a plaintive and charming vulnerability, as on, Why Would I Cry, when she offers, “there is no more space in your heart for me; there is no more room in your bed for me,” then adds determinedly, “before you take me again, I will run; before you break me again, I will run.”

The arrangements and instrumentation, which includes a variety of electronic keyboard sounds that just avoid becoming cheesy, a whimsical string quartet, echoing electric guitar and dobro chords, and even the plink of a ukulele, both compliment her voice and emphasize the lounge effect.

And the French pop influence of her Québecois accompanists, and her years of living in Montréal, also adds a gallic charm to the overall sound.

Isaac switches effortlessly among Nunavik’s three languages — Inuktitut, French and English — to weave her magic, often changing tongues within the same song.

Perhaps the influence of her northern homeland comes through most strongly in the spare, quiet moments that mix softly spoken words with silence to create an effect not unlike those moments on the tundra when you walk over a hill and leave the comforts of human society behind.

Overall, Isaac has produced a wonderful, dreamlike collection of songs that never seem overdone, and that grow on you with each repeated listen. - Nunatsiaq News


Discography

There will be stars - 2009
Travelling Love - 2012

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Bio

After the adventure of Taima, Elisapie released There Will Be Stars in 2009. An eloquent portrait of the past, present and future of her muse, the North, the album gave rise to a massive 150-date tour of Quebec, the rest of Canada, and the United States. To date, it has sold over 25,000 copies.

Strong following this first solo experience, in autumn 2012 Elisapie will unveil a new album and show entitled Travelling Love. 'Love cannot be owned. It is something that is always moving, always flowing. That?s what I mean by 'Travelling Love'," explains Elisapie.

Accompanied onstage by four musicians, the rising star of "Polar Pop" will perform, among other works, songs from the new album, with its organic pop sonorities, its intermingling of English and Inuktitut, the poetry of the north making a fascinating foray southward.

"With Travelling Love I allowed myself to be impulsive, to create without fear. To accept one?s weaknesses and clumsiness, and to confront them, can sometimes be beneficial," Elisapie confides. The album further explores the duality between sensitive woman and ferocious spirit that lives within Elisapie. The stage show promises magic moments in the company of this jewel of the North and her musicians.

Elisapie, who won the Ambassador Prize at the 2011 Teweikan Awards for her work throughout Canada. On September 27, 2012, she will receive the Eval-Manigat prize from the SPACQ Foundation, in the Multicultural Song category.