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The Jerry Cans
SAULT STE. MARIE – An up-and-coming band from Nunavut recently paid a visit to Sault Ste. Marie.
The band creates music inspired by their hometown and is committed to representing Northerners and challenging misconceptions about life in the Arctic.
"Growing up in the north, there are lots of challenges sometimes I think for young people and part of that is because most of the cultural material is imported, whether it's music or movies or whatever, and we wanted to kind of battle against that and make music that reflects young people's lives up north," said Andrew Morrison, The Jerry Cans Lead Vocalists and Guitarist.
But what sets these rising northern stars apart is their mix of traditional Inuit throat singing and folk-rock sung in the Indigenous language of Inuktitut.
Kathleen Merritt is a throat singer and while she's not an official band member, she says she's been a fan of The Jerry Cans since they started.
She says she appreciates the band's efforts to bring Indigenous cultural traditions like this to the forefront.
"When I was a child, I didn't see much throat singing and it was only in my early 20's that I started to hear it more regularly. And now young girls are throat singing right from one year old and onwards. So it's really cool because I think that as a young Inuk, and for any young person, it's important to have a sense of identity," said Merritt.
The Jerry Cans cover a wide range of topics in their songs, and they say their goal is to bring people of all backgrounds together.
"We do talk about a lot of tough and challenging issues along with a lot of light, beautiful and positive things. So it's great to have conversations about all of this," said Gina Burgess, The Jerry Cans Violinist.
"It's really important to just remember that music is community-building, music is bringing people together who might think two very different things about the world. But music can be a way where those two different ideas can co-exist and that's the type of music we play," explained Morrison.
The Jerry Cans say they are committed to challenging common misconceptions about life in the north and hope to bring attention to the many different cultures that inspire their music.