Soft-spoken songstress, Elisapie Isaac sings in Inuk ( the language of the Inuits of the Great North ) as well in English and French. With There Will Be Stars, her latest album, she’s blended all three facets of her cultural heritage into a wonderful brand of modern folk. It’s no surprise, then, that she has been invited, this summer, to some of Montreal’s biggest cultural events : The Montreal First Peoples’ Festival, the Jazz Festival and Lilith Fair.
Tell us about your involvement with the First Peoples’ Festival.
The show I’ve been invited to participate in is going to be great. It’s a wonderful mix of styles and it is a testament to the diversity of expression that can be found today in native cultures. It’ll be great to share the stage with artists like Michel Faubert ( a francophone folk singer) and Samian ( an algonquin rapper).The show will focus a lot on the power of words.
You have a special relationship with this festival
Yes. I started there. First as an MC. And later as a singer. I gave my first concert ever at the First Peoples’ Festival. So few festivals in the world, showcase native cultures in such an open and dynamic way. I love this event in particular because it tells the public that we are not simply about folklore. Native culture has evolved with the times and so this festival has a strong avant-garde component.
Which native artists have influenced you while growing up?
I’ve never made a conscious effort to immerse myself in native cultures, it’s always been all around me. But I am fascinated by my throat-singer friends and I grew up listening to Buffy Ste-Marie.
You’ll also be playing at the Jazz Festival in a few weeks.What do you have in store for us?
My band and I are preparing a new version of our show. Usually, we play as a trio but this time we will be working with a string quintet. It will give that much more depth and fullness to the music. One thing is sure, I’ll have to be a lot more disciplined (laughs)! Even though I’m not a jazz player, I felt that a show at the jazz fest was the perfect occasion to come up with new arrangements. The standard of musicianship at the festival is so high!
You’re playing Lilith Fair as well. How does it feel to be billed along some of the world’s most influential female artists?
It’s very exciting! I’m very much looking forward to sharing the stage with so many inspiring women. Lilith Fair is an institution and I relate so much to the positive values that the show projects. It’s going to be a very special moment for me. I’m also looking forward to meeting La Roux!
Her show at the First Peoples’ Festival is the 17th of June at Ex-Centris
Jazz festival show: Saturday July 3rd at Club Soda
Lilith Fair: July 23rd at the Bell Center