Isaac CD reaches wide audiences
“A wind from the North heats up the soul”
The music is haunting, and the lyrics linger in your thoughts – that’s what those who had a chance this week to listen to Elisapie Isaac’s CD, Taima, found.
Elisapie’s talents as a singer will now reach a much wider audience with the release of Taima in Montreal and its cross-Canada distribution.
Taima, released on the Fullspin Music record label, includes 11 songs. Elisapie, who wrote the lyrics for 10 of them, sings in Inuttitut, French and English. Musician Alain Auger composed the music for all but one of the tracks.
The result of their collaboration is well worth listening to. In fact, if you can choose only one CD to bring along on a trip, take Taima, because it will grow on you with each play.
Elisapie, who grew up in Salluit, draws on her experiences in Nunavik and, more generally, as a sensitive human being, for her material.
Among Taima’s most successful tracks are Inuusivunga about spring and life, the plaintive Nalligigumavagit, which talks about desire, the sensual Illunnut, meaning “into your flesh,” and Elisapie’s first song, Sugami, about the leftover, bittersweet emotion after a break-up.
“I will not see through your eyes anymore/ tell me this life, honey, who do I live it for? Why do I want you so, why won’t I let you go? Sugami…”
In Les voyages, a moving French-language poem written by trilingual Elisapie, she talks about her late father.
Mon père est devenu un homme très tôt … il a vecu la famine et il a été obligé de quitter son frère aveugle et le laissa à la toundra … il a nommé son fils pour son frère … et lui a dit qu’il ne mourrait jamais de faim.
He lived during the famine, she sings, had to abandon his blind brother on the tundra, but later named his son after his brother, telling his son that he would never go hungry.
Taima’s songs range in style, reflecting a fusion of rock, pop, New Age music and jazz. Taima doesn’t resemble any other recording from the Canadian North to date, and this originality is the CD’s strength. This originality – and the overall quality and appeal of the songs and production – mean Taima will go far.
Taima, the group, started shortly after Elisapie and Alain met in July 2000, in Montreal. Alain was struck by Elisapie’s voice, and knew he’d found someone he wanted to work with. Elisapie said she felt the same about Alain as soon as she heard his music. So they began recording tracks that would become a short demo CD, The Taima Project.
In Inuttitut, “taima” means “Enough! It’s over. Let’s move on.”
Through this choice of name, the duo wanted to say “taima” to the past when Inuit felt victimized and repressed and it seemed that the Inuit way of life was threatened or endangered.
“The Inuit people must be proud of the richness of their culture and their land. Together with the ‘whites,’ they must develop new bonds, new means of exchange where everyone is considered an equal,” says Taima’s Web site. “‘Taima’ to silence also! The time has come to speak up, to express ourselves…. It is the vision of a better tomorrow.”
Taima was produced and recorded at the Studio Frisson in Montreal from June to December 2003.
Taima is already receiving excellent reviews. Last Sunday’s La Presse said of the CD, “a wind from the North heats up the soul.”
“From the supple voice of Elisapie Isaac, the sounds of her native language, Inuttitut, to the airy music of Alain Auger, everything contributes to the impression of stepping into a unique and seductive universe … as on the superb cover of the CD [that shows an iceberg], there is much blue, white and gray in the songs of Taima. But Elisapie Isaac, the singer from the cold, manages to infuse them fully with enough sensuality, tenderness, sadness and passion to make them moving.”
To hear excerpts from Taima, consult the bilingual (English-French) Web site at www.taimaproject.com.