Performing to a sold-out Company House, Montreal-based singer Elisapie Isaac seemed even more soft-spoken onstage than in our interview, but no less charming and engaging. Speaking in mostly Franglais to the audience, with the occasional Inuktitut term thrown in, she played two sets with a break in between (I hear this is how bands used to do things once upon a time, but I’ve rarely experienced it). Isaac’s stage banter frequently turned to cultural pride (and education), introducing songs like her “stand up for your rights” song “Inuk” with its breathy chorus. She spent most of the show dancing on the tiny stage, aside from stepping down to lean on the Coho’s piano, cabaret-style, as one of her multi-instrumentalist bandmates played it. One sultry, bass-heavy unreleased track went from folk to blues to doo-wop and back, best showing Isaac’s versatility. Isaac captivated the audience with her show, telling stories like her fantasy of being young in the 1960s and meeting Leonard Cohen in Montreal, then taking him home to Nunavik and seducing him in an igloo. (I suspect Cohen would be down with this plan.) Swishing off the stage, she promised to return soon.
Equally personable in person, when I introduced myself after the show, she told us about the five flights she’d take to make it from the east coast to a show in Yellowknife, asked about Wednesday night hotspots in Halifax (I’m still wondering here, as I doubt student night at the Dome is her style) and invited us to come drink with her band, but alas, day job obligations prevented me this week.