Iqaluit’s Jerry Cans to release first CD at Legion launch party
“It’s a really big step for the band”
Iqaluit’s homegrown band the Jerry Cans will hold a CD release Jan. 19 for their first full-length album,“Nunavuttitut,” or “Nunavut style,” which is made up of a “unique mix of Inuktitut country swing, throat singing, reggae, and blues, sharing a glimpse of life in Nunavut while challenging misrepresentation of the great white north.”
The band, Andrew Morrison, on guitar and vocals, Brendan Doherty on bass, Nancy Mike, who plays accordion and throat sings, Gina Burgess on violin and Steve Rigby on drums, says the best way to sum up their music is to call it dance music.
“With the direction we’ve taken, there’s lots more dance music and embracing Inuktitut music and stuff like that, it’s almost overwhelming sometimes,” Morrison said.
At one of their last shows, people were on the dance floor “screaming along with the lyrics.”
Morrison was nervous at first about singing in Inuktitut, but now, most of the songs he’s written are performed in Inuktitut.
“It’s very encouraging. I think everyone I’ve met has always been really encouraging,” Rigby said.
The show and CD come after what the band says was their best year ever.
They played a show in Yellowknife at the Folk on the Rocks festival, then played in Greenland and did several shows in Iqaluit, including the Alianait festival.
The band has also sent out demos to community radio stations in Nunavut.
But now their many fans will be able to take the music home with them on the new CD.
“Oh it’s huge, we’ve done demos, we’ve had songs we’ve recorded… it’s a really big step for the band,” Doherty said.
The band plans to play bigger shows in 2013 in Toronto, Ottawa and Yellowknife.
But sometimes they aren’t sure how non-northern audiences will react to their Nunavut-centric music.
Usually though, despite not always understanding Inuktitut, people understand the general feeling of the songs and will always dance, Morrison said.
And as for the meaning of the songs, the band members agree that their music is definitely focused on northern themes, (“being ripped off by North Mart”), and figuring out how to make due with what you’ve got.
However, there are new songs on Nunavuttitut.
“It’s all very fresh and new,” Doherty said.
The CD took months of planning, and weeks to record.
Most of it was recorded around Iqaluit last summer, sometimes during coffee breaks, Morrison said.
“So that’s why it was a little bit of a miracle… now we’re waiting for the CDs to come in. We’re just kind of crossing our fingers,” he said.
Morrison, Rigby and Doherty grew up in the Happy Valley neighbourhood of Iqaluit, and have been playing together since high school.
Since those days, the band has found a sound that everyone enjoys, Rigby said.
“It’s so awesome to see young people singing along in Inuktitut, you don’t see that so often,” Morrison added.
The group said that they were grateful to everyone who invited them to play shows and learned their songs, especially the popular “Mamaqtuq,” about eating seal stew.
“Nunavuttitut” will be sold online through iTunes and Amazon and will be available at the Jan. 19 show, which takes place at 9 p.m. at the Royal Canadian Legion in Iqaluit. Regular sign-in rules will apply.
People are encouraged to wear seal skin, since the event may become a “super seal skin dance party.”