Published Jun 09, 2017As Riit, Rita Claire Mike-Murphy is one of the first talented artists to work with newly formed Nunavut label, Aakuluk Music, and her new self-titled EP is an enchanting blend of mellow folk-rock (with Inuktitut lyrics) and Inuit throat-singing (the same tradition that Tanya Tagaq draws from, in her own way). It's only three songs long, but covers a wider range of sounds than some folk artists can muster on a full-length.
"Imiqtaq" starts out true to its origin as a children's song, with an a cappella verse from a child, before Riit's jaunty acoustic strumming and smooth and clear voice carry us away. After her own first run through the same short verse as the child, her voice gets stretched by a delay effect for a neat transition into a large, poppy, and dramatic version, before the dynamic comes back down to introduce a throat-singing accompaniment part. Each transformation that the short verse goes through demonstrates a fun sort of creativity, perfectly in tune with the childhood theme.
"Tavva" is a melancholic farewell song balanced by a persevering hope, with a line that translates as, "their heart will learn to love again." Instrumentally, there is a steadily strummed, droning acoustic guitar part that provides a similar emotional tug to the kind of tremolo picking a lot of post-rock bands use. "Kina" has a nice entry-point for the throat-singing part, right at a chord change for added effect.
Ritt's throat-singing adds both a distinctive, warm texture and rhythmic groove to her songs, while the rest of the arrangements are tastefully minimal. One exception is the large pop sound on parts of "Imiqtaq." That might be jarring to some, but then, the melding of different elements is part of what makes Riit's music so engaging. (Aakuluk Music)