Lucie Idlout
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Lucie Idlout


Band Rock Singer/Songwriter


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As for her music career, Idlout is on a roll - The Vancouver Sun

...[she] is looking to the future with excitement, enhanced by the recent clatter of media attention.

- The Globe and Mail

A fresh new voice from the Far North that is reminiscent of hearing Ani Di Franco or K.D. Lang for the first time.
- The Toronto Star

A one-woman revolution in Canadian music, taking the old blues wraiths and wrestling them into fierce new shapes.
- Globe and Mail

In the vein of darkness-drenched rockers such as PJ Harvey, Lucie Idlout (who is from the Arctic Canadian territory of Nunavut - no wonder she's so icy!) combines bluesy tendencies with modern atmospherics.
- Time Out New York

....a fierce alternative rocker - The New Yorker

Canada's Coolest? The White Stripes are gone, but look at all that remains in Nunavut. Rising star Lucie Idlout isn’t the only thing heating up Iqaluit.... - Toronto Star - Ben Rayner

The Northern Light
Lucie Idlout: Singer, Reluctant Ambassador, Sealskin Champion
“I’m Inuk. That means that I’m automatically pegged as an ambassador for Inuit regardless of what I say. This winds me up a bit. I can’t seem to get through an interview without that being brought up. I write about abuses, but you would be hard pressed to tell me that there are no wife beaters in the US or no alcoholics in Germany.
“My album and title track are called E5-770, My Mother’s Name. I chose this title based on a policy that was put into place in 1944 when government administrators who had difficulty pronouncing Inuktitut names decided to replace names with numbers. My mother is from Pond Inlet and so her name was no longer Leah in the eyes of the government, it was E5-770. It goes to show what kind of circus the boys were running back then.
“I dedicate each of my gigs to my grandfather Joseph Idlout. His picture was on the back of the two-dollar bill from 1975-1987. I never met him. All I’ve ever known of him is the legacy he left behind. People referred to him as a brilliant man, organized, dedicated to his family. Always out hunting and spending time making sure his children were raised well.
“I began wearing sealskin on stage in an attempt to pick a fight with whatever animal-rights, anti-fur, or anti-sealing group was willing. In an environment as extreme as ours, I’d bet those activists would quietly ditch their Sorels for a toasty pair of sealskin kamiks [boots]. Sealing for Inuit is a very different culture from what’s happened or what is happening on the east coast. When we take animals, we use the entire animal. Seal meat is one of the most nutritious foods you can consume, and sealskin is one of the sexiest skins you could possibly wear. I love the way it sits on the body. I love the way it reflects the light. Best of all, there’s nothing like having people want to pet you.”

- National Post

Lucie Idlout is an Inuit singer/songwriter, but please don't assume that means she'll come out on stage throat-singing or banging a traditional drum. Idlout is a rock musician, and is determined to be seen as one. Her debut album, E5-770, My Mother's Name -- the title refers to the government's registration of the Inuit by number rather than Inuktitut names -- is a collection of angry, exhilarating rock songs influenced more by PJ Harvey than Susan Aglukark. The album does contain some traditional sounds, but its followup, due this fall, will be different.

"We've taken all the cultural elements out, so people can no longer confuse what we're doing for anything but rock 'n' roll," Idlout says. "I can't tell you how many times we've been billed as a world music band, and then we show up to the blue-rinse crowd and we're the devil.

"It drives me crazy. I'd like to do whatever style I feel like, on my own terms. Right now it's a process of breaking things down so people move away from cultural stereotypes. Later on, if I want to return to the cultural stuff, that'll be my prerogative."

Idlout began writing songs when she was 16, but it was theatre school that awoke her urge to perform.

"It gave me the courage to get up there and do it," she says. "But it affected my writing. It calmed me down a lot. In acting, your first impulse is to lean toward the angry stuff, 'cause it's easy. But portraying a character who's wise or gentle was something I had to really search for. It broke me down and made me into a really nice person, and I hated it! So it kinda ruined me, it ruined my anger. I had to experience a pile of adversity before I could get that anger back."

Idlout and her band play the Rivoli tomorrow with The Brown Hornets and Say Ah. Then she'll head north. "It's beautiful now," she says, "the perfect time of year for ice fishing and nudie skidooing."
- Toronto Sun - Mary Dickie


"Swagger" - produced by Chris Shreenan-Dyck and Lucie Idlout
Released February 10, 2009

"E5-770, My Mother's Name" - produced by Matt Dematteo (Big Wreck) and Chris Shreenan-Dyck
Released on Arbor Records/EMI



“I’m not a romantic at all. I’m also not a very good liar,” laughs Lucie Idlout (pronounced Id-lowt) when she talks about where her lyrics and music spring from. Her honesty and poetic candor flow through her songs and carry the listener to the very depths of their heart and soul. She writes about her experiences as a participant and observer. She sings about truth and, as evidenced by great songwriters of the past, Lucie conveys truths relevant to us all.

Washed my heart at the water’s edge
Washed it clean of you
Prayed to God leave you from my head
Take these stains and make me new

You were never my lover
You were only my sin
Like a dirty little secret
I bruised you up and took you in

Lucie lived much of her early life in the High Arctic on North Baffin Island, Northwest Territories as it was known at the time, now Nunavut. Of Inuit heritage, Lucie has obvious ties to the culture of the north and the struggles that come with its unique geography. Her passion as a songwriter and artist stretches far beyond the treeline, having also lived in several southern Canadian cities. In recent years, she splits her time between Toronto and Iqaluit, Nunavut. Her sophomore effort, Swagger, continues in the tradition of her 2004 debut, E5-770, My Mother’s Name. The album, produced by Chris Shreenan-Dyck who has worked with Blue Rodeo, Kris Kristofferson, and Ron Sexsmith will be released through Sun Rev Records on February 10, 2009. Swagger tackles love, abandonment, loneliness and the search for balance in life. The song Whiskey Breath signaled the end of a bout of writer’s block that Lucie had endured for a year and a half. While on a trip to the Catskill Mountains in northern New York, a friend challenged her to write a song and out of that came Whiskey Breath, the dark, brooding rebirth of Lucie’s writing voice. The song Belly Down tackles the feelings of a small town girl as she gets swallowed by the big city which Lucie describes as “losing in a game she had no business playing”. The track Lovely Irene is a song greater than the sound of its parts. A rocker on the album that showcases Lucie’s gravelly growl prowess that harkens back to the likes of PJ Harvey, the song was re-recorded as an acoustic track with a children’s choir from Iqaluit as backup singers and very meaningfully re-titled Angel Street. Lucie wrote the song, telling the sad, unfortunate details of her friend Irene, the victim of abuse. The acoustic version, Angel Street, was discovered by the mayor of Iqaluit, Elisapee Sheutiapik, who championed to have the name of the street where the women’s shelter is located renamed Angel Street. Lucie performed the song for Bev Oda and all the Provincial and Territorial Ministers of the Status of Women at a function announcing the renaming of city streets across the country to Angel Street. Several cities have taken it into consideration with Fredericton, NB already on board. Lucie has been amazed by the impact of the song. She wrote from the heart but had no idea that the song would become such a symbol of hope for women and communities across the country. Both versions hold very special meaning to her. The acoustic version of this song can be found in the following short documentary, A Place To Run To, which focuses on the issue of spousal abuse in the North:

Swagger is a wealthy collection of songs. "Swagger came to me when I was listening to premixes of all the songs. I had set out to record the perfect driving album, or something that would be worthy of being on a soundtrack, and I wanted it to swagger." Lucie recalls "I'd spent so much time in a funk and unable to write about anything that felt sexy enough to me and then Whiskey Breath came out, and the rest was just like a purging." In 2007, Lucie opened for The White Stripes in Iqaluit during their in-depth tour of Canada. She opened for the legendary and highly respected Buffy Sainte-Marie at Ottawa’s Westfest earlier this year. She also performed at Quebec City’s 400th Anniversary celebrations with Le Strada. Her first album took her all over Europe, hitting stages of this nation’s finest festivals including the Stan Rogers Folk Festival, Vancouver Folk Festival, Northern Lights Festival and The Great Northern Arts Festival as well as prestigious festivals such as the Tilburg Festival in Germany and the Ravenna Festival in Italy. Last year she was honoured to be chosen as one of fifty Canadian artists to celebrate the 50th Anniversary of the Canada Council for the Arts. Performing at the Governer General’s Gala, the event encompassed singers, dancers, visual artist, writers, filmmakers and musicians from across the country. Each artist represented a year in the life of the Canada Council, having either won one of the many awards administered by the council or gained a grant to help them continue to do their art. Lucie is a vibrant and ta