Singer songwriter and documentary filmmaker born in Salluit (Nunavik) in 1977.
Elisapie Isaac, or Elisapie from her artist name, was born in Salluit in Nunavik in 1977, the daughter of an Inuit mother and a Newfoundland father. She was adopted at birth by an Inuit family and was their eldest daughter. In Salluit, winters were spent in the village and summers in family camps. At the age of 12, she discovered the south (Québec and Montréal) and her biological family. It was her close ties to her northern community, that helped her overcome the death of her parents. She moved to Montréal in 1999 to study communications at John Abbott Cégep.
Elisapie Isaac’s first creation was a documentary, a trilingual film dedicated to her adoptive grandfather. Sila piqujipat = Si le temps le permet = If Weather permits it is a commentary on village life in Kangirsujuaq and it notably won the Claude Jutra Award for Best Hope of the Year at the Rendez-vous du cinéma québécois in 2003. The film was also selected for inclusion in « Unikkausivut: Sharing Our Stories = Unikkausivut : transmettre nos histoires » a National Film Board of Canada production, in collaboration with Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada, the Government of Nunavut and other Inuit organizations. Elisapie Isaac’s film was released in 2011 in the project’s DVD box set.
Elisapie Isaac is an acclaimed Inuit musician. As a teenager, she was lead singer in the folk music band called Sallait Band, and her first album Taima Project (2004), with Abitibian musician Alain Auger, was awarded Juno Award 2004. This is how she gained an international audience. She has released three other folk and electro solo albums, with songs in English, French and Inuktitut: There Will Be Stars (2009), Travelling Love (2012) and The Ballad of the Runaway Girl (2018). This last album includes the throat song of Beatrice Deer on the track Qanniuguma. This album describes a spiritual journey involving questions of identity, acceptance and overcoming of the collective discomfort, fact of being part of two different cultures. Inspired by the life of Inuit singer, Willie Thrasher who spent his childhood in Southern residential school in the 1950s, this album was nominated in 2019 for both a Juno Award (Indigenous Album of the Year) and a Polaris Prize; it was also awarded two Félix Prizes (2019) and Gamiq Award 2019.
Mother of three, Elisapie Isaac currently lives in Montréal, and frequently visits her home community in Nunavik, whom she stays very close to.