Elisapie Takes On Queen With “Qimatsilunga (I Want to Break Free)”

Ahead of the Friday (9/15) release of her new record Inuktitut via Bonsound, Elisapie has shared “Qimatsilunga (I Want to Break Free)”, a gripping Queen cover translated into her native language. Like the other songs on Inuktitut, “Qimatsilunga (I Want to Break Free)” pays tribute to a special person in Elisapie’s life, evoking memories of her youth in Salluit, Nunavik. This time she dedicates the track to her cousin Tayara, with whom she grew up: 

“Tayara was a little older than me. He was quiet, handsome, graceful and he loved music. He was named after our great-grandfather, a remarkable and gentle man. Tayara never found his place and never lived life to its fullest. Sadly, like too many Inuit teenagers and many of my cousins, he committed suicide by hanging himself in the tiny closet of his house, right next door to mine,” says Elisapie.

Despite this tragic story, the singer sees this song as one of resilience and strength: “When I Want to Break Free played on the radio, something magical happened. The lyrics resonated with him, allowing him to embrace his differences and marginality with pride. It was our song. When we danced to it, he shared his inner world with me, with all its complexities and desires. Through this music, he showed me how to be punk, wild and fierce. He was my best friend. When I sing it now, it’s a way of saying goodbye. Despite all its strength and power, it’s the saddest song in the world.”

For her new music video, Elisapie called upon Philippe Léonard, who also directed the videos for “Uummati Attanarsimat (Heart of Glass),” “Taimangalimaaq (Time After Time),”“Isumagijunnaitaungituq (The Unforgiven)” and “Qimmijuat (Wild Horses).” This time, he presents a visual narrative that invites people to break free from social norms and express their desire for freedom through dancing. “We see Simik Komaksiutiksak, a contemporary dancer who energizes members of the community through his gestures and the light he projects on them,” explains the director. “In turn, he feeds on the movement of others, and a conversation takes shape as the video unfolds. It’s an invitation to dance, to let off steam.”

Inuktitut is Elisapie’s fourth solo album. With these 10 covers of classic rock and pop songs from the 60s to the 90s, she reinvigorates their poetry thanks to the raw sounds of the thousand-year-old Inuit language and gives each track a unique and deeply personal quality. Every song from the album is linked to a loved one or an intimate story that has shaped the person Elisapie is today. Through this act of cultural reappropriation, she tells her story and offers these songs as a gift to her community, making her language and culture resonate beyond the borders of the Inuit territory.

Elisapie will be taking her new album to the stage on a 50-date tour. In addition to her regular tour, there will be five performances of Uvattini, a special live show presented exclusively at Usine C and the Grand Théâtre de Québec. Additional dates have been announced for December 9th in Montreal and December 21st in Quebec City. This summer, Elisapie will also travel to Salluit and Kuujjuaq to premiere her new show. More concerts are scheduled in France in November 2023 and February 2024. Since the announcement of her new album, Elisapie has been featured in Vogue, Rolling Stone, Globe and Mail and many more. Visit elisapie.com for more details.

Photo Courtesy: Leeor Wild