The Jerry Cans (from the album Inuusiq/Life)
Honoring the muse in our lives is a challenge in East Nashville, Austin, the hills above Hollywood, Tulsa, the Northwest, and Boston. Answering the call of music needs the blinders of the true believer wedged firmly over eyes so all they can see, and hear, is the song of the soul. The Jerry Cans are from Canada’s Artic Region, one of the world’s most remote and least populated regions, making their home base on Nunavut, the largest of Canada’s territories and provinces. The language on The Jerry Cans recent release, Inuusiq/Life, primarily speaks in the native tongue of the Inuk culture, backing the words with Indie Roots Rock, Reggae, and touches of Country. Other sounds unique to the region are captured on Inuusiq, translated as Life in English. Vocalist, songwriter and co-founder of The Jerry Cans, Nancy Mike, explained that ‘our neighbor’s dogs, the ravens at the dump, the wind in a blizzard….we wanted to pay homage to the natural sounds of our life. We also wanted it to be clear we listen to Bob Marley and stream pop tracks’.
The Jerry Cans stories mirror the dramatic changes and challenges in the lives around them. Centuries of Inuk culture have been compromised with access to the world beyond their border, and issues of isolation have led to despair as well as an increase of suicides among Nunavut residents. Without any translation, their words and music of The Jerry Cans present the balance the band strikes between local and global. The album track “Ukiuq” came from The Jerry Cans attempt to re-make Bob Dylan’s “North Country Girl” into an Inuktuit tune. They feel that they are ‘bringing modern sounds to Folk forms. When we’re addressing young people and their challenges, we try to make music that balances traditional and modern life’. Their language is rough, with many of the songs on Inuusiq backing the dialect with Celtic Punk (“Nirliit”) and mountain music (“Arnalukaq”) as The Jerry Cans venture into English for the tales with the tender piano rambles of “Makiliqta” as they urge “Northern Lights” along with chanting community harmonies.