Hard Rock and Katajjaq


One of my favorite bands is a Canadian group called July Talk.

If you’re from Toronto and like a certain type of high spirited,  alternative rock  then you’d know this group.  Bandcamp.com describes their music as “Tom Waits and Amy Millan shouting whiskey-soaked lullabies while backed by Crazy Horse”.  I don’t know these artists but if the names mean anything to you then maybe you’d like July Talk too.

I’m sharing the song “Beck and Call” because it features Tanya Tagaq, another Canadian,  known for her talent in Inuit throat singing.

Ever heard of Inuit throat singing?  Me neither. I had to look it up. It’s a form of harmonic chanting, practiced by Inuit girls, usually sung in competitive duets. Called katajjaq, the sound is rhythmic, guttural and animistic.

When I first listened to “Beck and Call” I had a hard time identifying Tanya Tagaq’s voice.   After watching this video I learned what to listen for.  You can watch the follow-on video with an improvised performance by Tanya. Be forewarned, it’s not the most accessible of music.

What I like about “Beck and Call” is its combination of hard rock with layers of traditional, non-traditional sounds. Individually I don’t care for the music of Tom Waits, Amy Millan, Crazy Horse or Tanya Tagaq. Pulled together though, with the innovative talent and unique energy of July Talk, it’s a great song.

The fact that July Talk is from Canada, a country which prides itself in diversity, tolerance and multiculturalism – that’s a bonus.

Toronto, Canada.  February 2017

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