Thursday, June 22, 2023

Elisapie Covers Metallica

Photo by Leeor Wild

Back in April we brought you Inuk artist Elisapie's reworking of Cyndi Lauper's iconic "Time After Time" in Inuktitut. She's released a new cover, and this time it's of Metallica's "The Unforgiven." Retitled "Isumagijunnaitaungituq (The Unforgiven)," Elisapie's version is a slow and folk based version. The melody is unmistakable, but this is a true reworking of an iconic song. It's a slow take on the song that is filled with an unexpected foreboding. It's a truly unique version of a song we all know, and adds some depth and range to the classic track.

Elisapie says about her choice of covering Metallica:

“When I was 14 years old, I applied for a job at TNI, the first Inuit TV-radio broadcaster, and I was thrilled when I was chosen for the position! Everyone at the station dreamed big, and they put in a request for an interview with Metallica. The band was so loved in Salluit that we had to give it a shot. Metallica accepted only two interviews on their Québec tour, and TNI was chosen. In my boys' eyes, I was the coolest!
"As a teenager, I only wanted to hang around the gang of boys in my village. We would all go to my cousin's house and smoke weed while listening to Metallica. The band's music allowed us to delve into the darkness of our broken souls and feel good there. Men's roles in our territory had been challenged by colonization, and it had become confusing what life was supposed to look like for a man. My boys were seeking new roles, and subconsciously, I allowed them to be my bodyguards so they could feel strong. Looking back, I was trying to give them the strength to find their place.
"‘Isumagijunnaitaungituq (The Unforgiven)’ incorporates throat singing, known as katajjaq in Inuktitut. It felt like katajjaq was so appropriate, says Elisapie. It is Inuit women who throat sing. Inuit women, mothers and grandmothers had to be the nurturing ones during the hard times, as men were struggling emotionally due to colonialism. Through this song, I wanted the feminine strength to balance the men's challenges.”

You can watch the video for "Isumagijunnaitaungituq (The Unforgiven)" below. Inuktitut is due out September 15 via Bonsound, and is available for pre-order here. For more on Elisapie, check out the artist's website.

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