Having just released their third album Inuusiq, the Jerry Cans will finish their Canadian tour at The Ship this Friday, November 19th.
On their past two albums the Jerry Cans have mixed throat singing with a folk/country sound. Vocalist and guitar player, Andrew Morrison, says their new album melds the two genres more completely.
“We’ve tried pushing it a little bit further, having the fiddle and the throat singing interact. What I like about the new album is that there’s lots of throat singing and it’s very high energy.”
Like their past albums Inuusiq, deals with issues that affect people living in the North, “there are obviously lots of challenging things happening in Nunavut. There’s lots of mental health issues, poverty and food insecurity.”
Although the album covers dark material, Morrison says it is also about the beauty of life in Nunavut and he hopes it will encourage young people in his hometown of Iqaluit to embrace life there.
“The songs are all deeply rooted in our lives in Nunavut, the challenges but also the celebrations.”
For Morrison, part of celebrating life in Iqaluit is singing in Inuktitut, all of the lyrics on Inuusiq are in Inuktitut.
Southern record labels and distributors told the Jerry Cans they won’t work with the band unless they sing in English. The band has responded to the pressure to anglicise their music by forming the first record label in Nunavut, Aakuluk Music. Aakuluk Music supports young musicians in Nunavut and encourages them to prioritize singing in Inuktitut.
“We’re trying to show young people that if you do show pride in your language and put yourself out there, people are going to support you and be interested in it.”
The band faced logistical issues getting a record label off the ground in Nunavut, not least of which was the outrageously slow Internet. However, Morrison explained the bigger challenge was convincing people of the growing market for Inuktitut music across Canada and the rest of the world.
“Audiences are really ready to support indigenous music and Inuktitut music, they just need more opportunity to do so.”
The Jerry Cans have seen evidence of this in Australia where they will be returning for a second tour this spring. On their first visit to Australia Morrison was surprised by the overwhelmingly positive response the Jerry Cans received. Audiences screamed Inuktitut lyrics along with the band and they sold out of CDs in the first two weeks of the tour.