Lost and Found

Exclaim! - - TABLE OF CONTENTS - By Kaitlin Ruether

PLAY­ING IN THE SPACE BE­TWEEN HAUNT­ING AND CEL­E­BRA­TORY, Elisapie’s The Bal­lad of the Run­away Girl stirs with the power of re­silience. Af­ter the birth of her se­cond child, the Inuk singer-song­writer and film­maker needed time to heal. “I needed to re­con­nect with my roots and the ter­ri­tory,” Elisapie says. “Not just the peo­ple — it’s the land, and I think I went through a heal­ing process.”

Time away has re­sulted in a fre­netic re­lease that uses squeal­ing gui­tars, thrum­ming per­cus­sion, and soar­ing vo­cals to bring thought­ful­ness and vitality. “This al­bum was writ­ten slowly, but the process of mak­ing the al­bum was quite fast. We recorded in a lit­tle cot­tage, live, be­cause we wanted to cap­ture the es­sen­tial mo­ment.”

The Bal­lad of the Run­away Girl marks a new chap­ter for Elisapie, who found so­lace in the mu­sic of her North­ern com­mu­nity. “I felt a lit­tle bit lost in the storm, and I think with this al­bum, I felt I didn’t want to be lost any­more.”

Wil­liam Ta­goona and Wil­lie Thrasher pro­vided guid­ing in­flu­ences (Thrasher’s “Wolves Don’t Live by the Rules” makes a shin­ing ap­pear­ance on the record) as did Sugluk — her un­cle’s band — whose song in­spired the al­bum’s name. “I’ve al­ways loved that ti­tle and that song. It’s funny how it came back to haunt me in a way. It’s true for many young Na­tive women — we all kind of run away. It’s not what we meant to do.”

But Elisapie is an ex­plorer by na­ture. “I need to ex­plore at the risk of get­ting lost. The out­come of that is that it con­nects peo­ple. We all have to free our­selves some­times and get lost.”

When it comes to art, Elisapie plays in the per­sonal — bring­ing her self-heal­ing to­gether with a de­sire to share the re­newal she is ex­pe­ri­enc­ing. “I have a very strong back­ground of cul­ture. Re­al­iz­ing that I have that is such strength. That’s why I was able to go fur­ther in the mu­sic and push a lit­tle deeper.”

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