The Ballad of the Runaway Girl
Out September 14, 2018 via Bonsound
MEL TRECHA // Publicist
The Far North is not at the other end of the world, it is in the center of mine. The Ballad of the Runaway Girl is the most significant work in singer-songwriter Elisapie’s career. She dug deep inside herself to offer these songs.
On this new album, she talks about her different facets and challenges as a woman; the adopted child, the mother and the lover. We learn about an Inuk who is proud of her origins and who works for the recognition of her people's historic difficulties.
Some of her inspired compositions show her emotional stages. The song Ikajunga, for instance, approaches her experience with post-partum. In a similar vein, Don’t Make Me Blue tells a mature woman’s love story, while Rodeo echoes Elisapie’s desire to leave her birth-village, Salluit, as a teenager. There is also the touching Una, a reconciliation song in which Elisapie asks her biological mother what she felt as she gave up her child in adoption.
Other songs allow the artist to take positions on Inuit and First Nations issues. On Arnaq, Elisapie honors missing and/or murdered aboriginal women and girls. On Ton vieux nom, the only French track, she calls on her people to reaffirm their pride. Through the aerial Darkness, written by Joe Jarmush from Suuns, she evokes the communities who were sent by the government to the Arctic Circle to protect Canada's territory.
There are also the treasures of Inuit and Native music that Elisapie found in the archives of CBC/Radio Canada that inspired this opus. This includes Call of the Moose, a masterpiece by Willy Mitchell that is a heartful cry for the defense of the territory.
Quanniuguma (which means if I was a snowflake) is an ode to Inuit animism, and The Ballad of the Runaway Girl is a song written by her uncle. Not only was this last piece a major influence on young Elisapie’s musical awakening, it beautifully shows her need to escape her reality at that time.
Wolves Don’t Live by the Rules is another cover. This emblematic song of the Inuit culture was written by Willie Thrasher, who was sent to a residential school in the south. He lost his language and his traditional Inuit way of life as a result.
The 11 songs that constitute the album are nestled together perfectly to form one story, Elisapie’s. The Ballad of the Runaway Girl is a poetic endeavor driven by urgency, doubt, gentleness and sensitivity. It’s a fully assumed work that embeds herself in life; an artistic manifesto that erases the desire to escape.
Co-produced by Elisapie, Joe Grass and Paul Evans, the album was mostly recorded live in a lakeside chalet with Robbie Kuster (Patrick Watson) and Nicolas Basque (Plants and Animals). Other precious collaborators added their touch to this monument: Leif Vollebekk, Joe Jarmush (Suuns), Jason Sharp, Natasha Kanapé-Fontaine, Chloé Lacasse and Howie Beck (mixing).