Kanen is another artist from the very fertile community of Maliotenam, on the North Shore. She is launching this first album with a certain recognition, acquired since her first EP released in 2019, since she participated in the Francouvertes in 2020, she was a finalist in the Indigenous Artist category at ADISQ in 2021 and that she is one of the Radio-Canada Revelations this year.
In Mitshuap, which means “house” in Innu-Aimun, Kanen sings as much about his roots as his quest for identity, exposing his fragility as much as his strength. Her soft voice often contrasts with the gravelly rock of many of her songs, but if she is not afraid to reveal her flaws and her doubts, there is a lot of power in these pieces that evoke her native land. The magnificent Assi (Earth), precisely, who opens the album, perfectly sums up its essence, with its haunting guitars, enveloping keyboards and heady rhythms.
Co-directed by Kanen, Jérémie Essiambre and Simon Walls, who also play several instruments, Mitshuap distils a sometimes heavy, often melancholic folk – the very beautiful duet with Louis-Jean Cormier, Nimueshtaten nete (I’m bored of there), which speaks precisely of the attachment to the territory, combines the two.
But there is as much indignation, concern and anger as there is hope and empathy in this frankly moving album, sung in French and Innu-aimun. Above all, there is a loud voice – don’t be fooled by appearances! – and unique who rises here, who is afraid neither of destitution (the very delicate Silence) nor of angry indie-rock (Fuck that shit).
Kanen draws on her to deliver the very contemporary portrait of a young woman who wonders about the path to take, taking into account the people around her and the place, full of stories, where she comes from. It is worth listening, letting yourself be rocked and stirred a little.