Inuk Folk-Artist Talks Activism and Music

Elisapie Isaac has her feet in many lands. She’s an activist, a celebrated documentarian, a mom, a communications professional and a Juno Award-winning singer. Released mononymously using her first name, Elisapie’s 2019 recording “The Ballad of the Runaway Girl,” a wonderful mix of spoken word, jazz rhythms, and rich musical timbres influenced by her Indigenous roots, was shortlisted for the prestigious Polaris prize.

By Jason Gorber

Photographer Mauricio Ortiz
Fashion Editor Yso

For our upcoming Spring/Summer 2020 Issue, DTK spoke with Elisapie from her home in Montreal, touching upon her childhood in Northern Quebec, her move to the big city down south, and how the various facets of her artistic output are shaped by her own refusal to capitulate to expectation and conservatism from the many communities she finds herself a part of.

Elisapie touches on how being Indigenous shapes her art, stating that it of course shapes her art, but that it “shapes [her] even more.” She’s had to find a way to navigate her own path in the music industry and within her community, and how she aims to bring people together through her music. Yet, it’s important for her to be considered diverse, and for her not to be defined by labels.

She also touches on her activist work and her recent concert in Montreal, held for the Wet’suwet’en community and the Unist’ot’en camp.  Elisapie shares her opinion on the current political situation, and how hers and other communities can draw on the past and the future to be heard.

As Elisapie wholeheartedly told us, “I feel like am I going to really make a difference. When it comes to talking about territory, I’m not ashamed. It’s rooted very deep of my heart. I really feel it.”

You can also read our Carte Blanche with the artist here, where she gives us our picks of her favourite Indigenous artists.

Creative direction SYLVAIN BLAIS
Fashion editor YSO
Make-up & hair STEEVE DAVIAULT

To read the entire interview, pre-order our Spring/Summer 2020 Issue now at the DTK Store.


Written on: April 5, 2020