Tonight on the Ottawa JazzFest stream, host of OLG Chats James Hale met with award winning Elisapie Isaac. Elisapie, born in Nunavit and now based in Montreal, talked about her influences growing up and how she started singing hymns in an Anglican church choir when she was a child. Her mother pointed her in that direction, because during the 70s there wasn’t a music scene so to speak within her own community and she explained the reason her influences in music are so eclectic.
From Tiffany to Metallica, she said she “respects all forms of music.” She drew inspiration from Willie Thrasher’s song “spirit child”, when she was young, but she was also influenced by mainstream music during the 70s, such as Fleetwood Mac. She felt that the 70’s were a time where things in Inuk society, “still had a nomadic “feel.”
She goes on to describe how the 80’s and 90s in her community were and continue to be overwhelmed with social injustice, suicide, and violence against women and girls. Elisapie is an activist and vocal about injustices and especially women’s rights, as she empathized ALL women should have more respect, “we make life” she said simply. She made a valid point when she questions why St.Jean Baptist and Canada Day are national holidays, and “why is it that in 2020, the summer solstice (AKA National Indigenous People day) is not celebrated by everyone?”
She performed from her back yard and played her hit song, Arnaq which she sings in her native language. Her voice is sweet with some edge, and we hear her 70’s rock influences coming out in the tune. The sound of the video was clear and the atmosphere (in her back yard) was pleasant and laid back.
Elisapie is a multi talented artist who emits love and positivity. She continues to actively raise awareness using her platform as an international artist and she has so many important messages, I certainly hope all ears will listen and not just hear what she has to say.