The Jerry Cans are a phenomenon in Iqaluit, capital of the Inuit territory of Nunavut, and across Inuit territory which stretches across the North of Canada, Alaska, Greenland, and Siberia. The band recently completed a tour of Australia too, and have been noticed in parts of Southern Canada where indigenous music is making its presence felt.
Musically the format is an upbeat Alt-Canuck blend of folk, pop and country, reminiscent of Willie P Bennett or Kashtin. The most interesting aspect of the five-piece group is their homage to Inuktitut, the traditional language of the Nunavut territory. Nine of 10 tracks are in Inuktitut, the last in English.
Most of the band, while Iqaluit residents, aren't Inuit, but are part of a community where Inuit traditions meld with the modern world, and not always easily.
Andrew Morrison is a learner, but he's a strong singer, and he's married to Nancy Mike, native speaker, traditional throat singer and accordionist.
Rounding out the band lineup are Brendan Doherty, bass, Steve Rigby, drums, and Gina Burgess, fiddle.
While the material isn't that interesting musically, it is catchy and the throat singing works well as a counterpoint to the sometimes predictable arrangements.
The songs are concerned with daily life in Nunavut (seal hunting in "Iqqanaijarumanngittunga") as well as social issues (serious concerns such as domestic violence in "Arnalukaq") and all of this is well explained in the lyric sheet/poster provided.
"Ukiuk/Northern Lights" is the strongest track and appears in both Inuktitut and English versions. Producer Michael Philip Wojewoda earns kudos for a fine mix allowing the group's best attributes to shine.
A novelty and a fun listen, this is a group with a passion for its home in the far North. - David Cox
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