Singing and throat singing synthy electro-pop in Inuktitut, she shows she knows exactly what she wants to say and how she wants to say it
On Riit’s debut album, infatuation and love, forgiveness and community all come together with assured focus.
Hailing from Panniqtuq, Nunavut, the singer/throat singer/songwriter recorded ataataga in Iqaluit and Toronto. All but one track is sung in Inuktitut.
Much of the imagery accompanying the album’s rollout shows Riit with chalk-white hair slicked back as if with ice, and that cold aesthetic reaches into the album’s chilly, synthy electro-pop sound.
Her versatility enchants right off the bat, moving from sombre ballads to singing like an alt-pop ingenue. But Riit’s skill is more than genre flexibility. Opener ataataga, and its fleeting acoustic version that closes the album, reveal the depth of emotion Riit brings – sometimes searching, other times hopeful. Each song brings something different.
Producer Graham Walsh (of Holy Fuck), successfully capitalizes on Riit’s sound-shifting ability, morphing from upbeat dance tracks like #uvangattauq and qujana to melancholy songs like inuusivut and the Elisapie-featuring uqausissaka. A skilled throat singer, Riit weaves between vocal styles, producing dynamic layers of sound and texture in songs like ataataga and qujana – a cover of fellow Panniqtuq artist Susa Aningmiuq. The grizzled rasp of Josh Q joins Riit on a cover of Northern Haze’s inuusivut, while Zaki Ibrahim guests on the #MeToo-inspired track #uvangattauq, an album-stealing duet in an already captivating body of songs. It’s also the only song to include English lyrics.
It’s exciting to hear a new voice from an artist who knows exactly what she wants to say and how she wants to say it.
Top track: ullagit