Joey Nowyuk pays tribute to a legendary Rankin Inlet artist with the riveting new single Tappaani — showcasing today on Tinnitist.
Performed in his native language Inuktitut, the award-winning rock singer-songwriter’s spell-binding rendition of Ishmael Naulalik’s classic song will appear on his kinetic new covers album Inuugama. The album title translates to “I am Inuk” and is a sonic celebration of Nowyuk’s Inuit culture and language.
Tappaani is a meditative musical experience that continues to establish the rest of the album as a homage to popular Inuit music. The single is a stylish reinterpretation with rhythmic sophistication, Inuktitut lyrics, and compelling guitar work that breathes new life into the original recording.
The followup to Nowyuk’s award-winning debut Tumitit (translation: “your footprints”), Inuugama (due Sept. 30) is a love letter to the richness of Inuit culture, spreading a messages of positivity and resilience. It was recorded at the Hitmakerz Compound in Ottawa, under the astute guidance of producer Dale Penner (Nickelback, Matthew Good) and executive producer Thor Simonsen (Kelly Fraser, Shauna Seeteenak). Inuit throat singing on the album was performed by Qattuu, an emerging solo artist and member of Juno-nominated group Silla and Rise.
Channelling his indie-rock and alt-pop roots, Nowyuk harnesses the sound of Plain White T’s, Goo Goo Dolls, John Mayer, One Republic, and Snow Patrol, effortlessly interweaving them with his confident, rewarding songs. He puts a contemporary spin on Charlie Ningiuk’s 1997 classic Inuuqatigigakkit, setting the tone for the album with its driving rhythm and twangy guitar alongside Inuktitut lyrics. Next is a playful cover of Qimujuit’s Nunavut, the perfect song for a summer day on the land.
Joey’s interpretation of Charlie Adams’ hit Quviasupunga is designed to resonate with audiences. In other songs, Joey sings about his hometown in Panniqtuuq, originally by Etulu and Susa, while Quviagijara combines rock and country. A catchy cover of Sikumiut’s Utirumavunga will have audiences singing along, while friendship comes full circle with Joey’s version of the Looee Arreak’s Sapiliqtailigit (Don’t Give Up). Looee was one of the main inspirations when Joey began songwriting, and both are originally from the remote Northern community of Pangnirtung, Nunavut and are labelmates at Iqaluit’s Hitmakerz.
Nowyuk began his songwriting career at a young age, telling the stories of his Inuk upbringing and bringing attention to the harshness of living in the North and the mental-health struggles that persist in those communities. His debut album Tumitit produced two songs — Nalligigakku (Because I Love Her) and Pray (Tussiaq) — that rose to No. 1 on the Indigenous Music Countdown. Nowyuk is a three-time winner of the Qilaut Songwriting Contest and an Indigenous Music Award winner.