Alternative / indie / Indigenous peoples / Inuit

Watching Elisapie perform in Châteauguay was an honour

par Gigi Brown

Elisapie graced the stage at Châteauguay’s Pavillon de l’Ile last week, and the intimate venue was packed with fans buzzing with excitement to see her on the Inuktitut tour, in support of her album of the same name from September 2023. The collection of covers from artists like Queen, Blondie, and Metallica in Inuktitut, Elisapie’s first language, was easily one of the best albums released last year, winning her the 2023 GAMIQ award for Artist of the Year. Seeing her perform live proved why she deserved such an honour. Elisapie started the show on a strong note, appearing on stage from behind a wall of pink light, singing “Uummati Attanarsimat (Heart of Glass),” the first single off of the album. It was perfect—her voice, mixed in with the magic of the pink lights, had the room in awe. It was clear from the start that this show was going to be special and it most definitely was. 

The show felt like it passed by so quickly, but throughout the entire show, the audience really got to know who Elisapie was. The singer was brutally honest and open with the crowd, explaining the stories behind her albums. From “Una”, the song she wrote to her birth mother, to the cover of “Dreams” by Fleetwood Mac in honour of her late brother, or “I Want to Break Free,” by Queen dedicated to her cousin who loved to dance. It was special and beautiful and made a few of us cry. Hearing the stories behind Inuktitut took it from a record full of wonderful covers and transformed it into a collection of songs that had a far deeper meaning to Elisapie. 

The show was not just special from a musical standpoint either. From a technical point of view, the show was pretty simple. There were no crazy pyrotechnics, and aside from a cool light-up radio, there were no props, but the lighting masterfully guided the audience through the songs and kept your focus solely on Elisapie. The lights matched perfectly with the song she was singing as well as visually showing the range in her music. Sometimes the lights were flashing and fun, giving the room a dance club vibe, other times the stage was bathed in light, with the colour depending on the overall vibe of the songs.

Personally, my favourite lighting choice was the singular spotlight, casting the singer in an almost ethereal glow. The dramatic yet warm lighting sequences occurred several times during the show, often while she was telling her stories. Yet,the most memorable “simple lighting” moment happened during Elisapie’s performance of “Moi, Elsie,” a song written by Richard Desjardins and composed by Pierre Lapointe for Elisapie’s 2009 debut album There Will Be Stars. The lyrics tell the story of an Inuk woman in love with a white contractor who is set to go home soon.  

Elisapie is the type of performer who demands your attention. No matter what she did, whether she was dancing or telling us her stories, all eyes were on her. But her shadow looming on the wall behind her gave the impression that the singer was larger than life. The words she was saying were important and you knew it, but it wasn’t daunting. Whether it was the warmness of the lighting or her sweet voice, you felt safe, almost as if we were all sitting around a campfire and listening to her tell stories.    

Elisapie and the writer, Gigi Brown

Elisapie is a voice and a presence on stage that we, as Canadians, should be fiercely proud of, and it was an honour to watch her perform. 

The Inuktitut tour goes on until November 30, 2024, with shows all around Quebec, plus a few shows in Europe.

Elisapie is also set to perform for the Festival International de Jazz de Montréal at Théâtre Maisonneuve on June 30, 2024.

Intro photo Courtesy of Bonsound

Credit: Leeor Wild

Tout le contenu 360

Cyrille Dubois/Tristan Raës – Louis Beydts (1895-1953) : Melodies and Songs

Cyrille Dubois/Tristan Raës – Louis Beydts (1895-1953) : Melodies and Songs

Ruth Saphir – Accolades of Time

Ruth Saphir – Accolades of Time

Gabriel Genest – As It Is

Gabriel Genest – As It Is

Karma Glider – Sugarcane

Karma Glider – Sugarcane

Shannon & The Clams – The Moon Is In The Wrong Place

Shannon & The Clams – The Moon Is In The Wrong Place

FIMAV 2024 | Sélébéyone, or cultural intersections according to Steve Lehman

FIMAV 2024 | Sélébéyone, or cultural intersections according to Steve Lehman

Kaia Kater Talks About Her New Album Strange Medicine

Kaia Kater Talks About Her New Album Strange Medicine

FIMAV | Natural Information Society informs you of its great sounds !

FIMAV | Natural Information Society informs you of its great sounds !

Catherine Major – La mémoire du corps

Catherine Major – La mémoire du corps

Myriam Gendron – Mayday

Myriam Gendron – Mayday

CMIM – Piano 2024 | Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, first Canadian pianist ever to win

CMIM – Piano 2024 | Jaeden Izik-Dzurko, first Canadian pianist ever to win

CMIM – Piano 2024: The finalists’ penultimate stretch (Part 2)

CMIM – Piano 2024: The finalists’ penultimate stretch (Part 2)

Empress Of – For Your Consideration

Empress Of – For Your Consideration

CMIM – Piano 2024: The penultimate round of finalists (Part 1)

CMIM – Piano 2024: The penultimate round of finalists (Part 1)

Musical Chairs, a chamber music festival at the Schulich School of Music

Musical Chairs, a chamber music festival at the Schulich School of Music

Swing the Mass at Cinquième salle : Will Todd’s Mass in Blue for a rare occasion in Quebec

Swing the Mass at Cinquième salle : Will Todd’s Mass in Blue for a rare occasion in Quebec

Meet Uuriintuya Khalivan: the woman who brings Mongolia to Canada

Meet Uuriintuya Khalivan: the woman who brings Mongolia to Canada

CMIM – Piano 2024 | Finalists announced

CMIM – Piano 2024 | Finalists announced

Women’s Silk Roads at the Centre des Musiciens du Monde Festival 2024

Women’s Silk Roads at the Centre des Musiciens du Monde Festival 2024

Random Access Memories, 11 years later: HI FI document at PHI Center

Random Access Memories, 11 years later: HI FI document at PHI Center

The Messthetics – And James Brandon Lewis

The Messthetics – And James Brandon Lewis

Job For A Cowboy – Moon Healer

Job For A Cowboy – Moon Healer

Spectral Voice – Sparagmos

Spectral Voice – Sparagmos

A Boiler Room in Montreal, on May 11, 2024 

A Boiler Room in Montreal, on May 11, 2024 

Inscrivez-vous à l'infolettre