Video

This Iqaluit band is fighting to make Inuktitut part of the music industry

Nancy Mike and Andrew Morrison are The Jerry Cans, a band on a mission: they're singing in Inuktitut — all over the country.

Nancy Mike and Andrew Morrison are The Jerry Cans, a band on a mission

Nancy Mike and Andrew Morrison are The Jerry Cans, a band on a mission. 3:24

Nancy Mike and Andrew Morrison are The Jerry Cans, a band from Nunavut who mix throat singing with everything from traditional music to reggae. They also just so happen to sing in the Inuit language of Inuktitut — and when they first tried to get signed by a record label, they often got the same response. "We love your sound but we can't understand what you're singing about," recalls Mike. And with that, the band would be passed over.

Now, it's the mission of The Jerry Cans to not only sing joyously in Inuktitut but to create a space where other young musicians can do the same. They've created their own label called Aakuluk Music, and they're hopeful about the future for Indigenous musicians. "There's more people awakening and being turned on to Aboriginal music," Morrison says. "We're very happy to be part of a larger movement."

In the video above, CBC Arts correspondent and filmmaker Anubha Momin sits down with Morrison and Mike to talk about the band, Inuktitut, the music business and what it means to have non-Indigenous members of your band singing in an Indigenous language. The video was directed by Thurka Gunaratnam.

Anubha Momin is a writer, performer and digital specialist who splits her time between Iqaluit, Nunavut and Toronto, Ontario. Her blog, Finding True North, covers everything from how-to guides to interviews with the Prime Minister to Northern music reviews, taking a hyper-local approach that appeals to her Nunavut base as well as national readers. You can see her other work for CBC Arts here and here

Watch Exhibitionists Sundays at 4:30pm (5 NT) on CBC.