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Listen to This: Elisapie's "Dreams"

Contemporary Indigenous Artist of the Year at the Juno Awards, Elisapie unveils a music video for “Sinnatuumait (Dreams),” off her album Inuktitut

I'm a fan of reinvention, especially of something that's become well-known in its field. This is how most of the world's best inventions have found a foothold; as an improvement upon something that wasn't broken to begin with. Simply, it was something that needed to be seen in a different light, with a new pair of lenses. A better mouse trap, sometimes, is just what needs to be built.

When this happens in relation to a song, it can be a transformative experience. I was reminded of this a few days ago when listening to an early take of Paul McCartney working on "Blackbird". It was the same, but - of course - it was very different. As I listened, I imagined the early take of the song being the version that ended up on The Beatles. It would have been an alternate reality. I told myself it would not have been as good as the one that we're all familiar with, but if that version didn't exist, well...then who would know?

In the spirit of this rabbit hole comes Elisapie's version of Fleetwood Mac's FM soft rock staple, "Dreams." Elisapie changes the language to her native Inuktitut tongue and you think this might distance the song from someone who only speaks English, but it does the opposite. The familiar song and melody coupled with the unfamiliar language (to English speakers) creates an opportunity for a mystical connection in which you won't know the language, but you'll be able to cobble together a reasonable translation of what's being communicated.

This, fused with the dreamy video of a toddler skirting across the tundra on a dirtbike, creates a dreamlike environment for the listener and viewer that's hard to pinpoint. Though, like many existential experiences, it's there in the ether with everything else. Everything is everything and all of that. Language aside, creating a dirge-like drone version of this familiar favorite adds another layer to the "dream" theme of the original tune. Elisapie's take is inapacitatingly powerful, and when the pedal steel hits and gently approximates elements of the original arrangement, well, by then you'll be lost and feeling something similar to reverie.


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