Elisapie covers a Metallica song in Inuktitut and the “Rolling Stone” embarks

A magnificent cover in Inuktitut by Elisapie of The Unforgiven, a Metallica classic, caught the attention of the magazine RollingStone, who agreed to unveil the song and its music video for the first time on its website on Tuesday morning.

Officially launched on Wednesday, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Isumagijunnaitaungitq (The Unforgiven) is the third single from an album of covers, all in the mother tongue of the artist from Salluit, of great pop and rock hits. The scrapbook, Inuktitut, will be released on September 15.

Elisapie’s Quebec record company, Bonsound, explains that it was its American press relations team that unearthed “the great opportunity” to offer the song exclusively to the RollingStone.

The United States, we are told, is not unknown territory for Elisapie, since she notably presented concerts there at the time of her album The Ballad of the Runaway Girl.

Metallica fan

That Elisapie is covering a Metallica title is also not a surprise. In a press release issued by Bonsound, we learn that she was a big fan of the heavy metal band when she was a teenager in her village in Nunavik.

“As a teenager, we went to my big cousin’s house to smoke pot and listen to Metallica. Their music allowed us to dive into the darkness of our broken souls and feel good there. The role of men in our territory was upset by colonization and it became so confused that no one knew what daily life should look like. My buddies were looking for new roles and, subconsciously, I allowed them to be my bodyguards. Looking back, I tried to give them the courage to find their place,” says the singer.

She had even managed to get an interview with Kirk Hammett while working for the Inuit radio and TV channel TNI in 1990. “In the eyes of my friends, I was the coolest,” she says.

Throat songs

For this moving rereading of The Unforgiven, Elisapie was able to count on a team of stars made up of musicians Joe Grass, Robbie Kuster, François Lafontaine and Jason Sharp, vocalist Erika Angell and Sylvia Cloutier, specialist in throat singing, or katajjaq.

“Using the katajjaq was perfectly appropriate, according to Elisapie. It is the Inuit women who sing with their throats. It is also women, mothers and grandmothers who take care of others during difficult times. Through this song, I wanted the female force to counterbalance the challenges faced by men.

Elisapie will begin a major tour that will take her throughout Quebec and France this fall. We will see her notably at Usine C in Montreal, from December 7 to 9, and at the Grand Théâtre de Québec, on December 20 and 21.

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