How to Get the Most Out of The Jerry Cans Decolonize Tour


Dear Southern (or Living-in-the-South) Readers,

I've written to you before about The Jerry Cans, imploring you to check them out in Ottawa or Toronto. If you didn't listen to me then, you have another chance! Today (Canada Day!) marks the first stop in The Jerry Cans Decolonize Tour 2015, which will be visiting 14 cities before The Jerry Cans come back to us in Iqaluit. Check out the poster below to see if they'll be in your town.

For those of you who have never had the pleasure of seeing The Jerry Cans live, you're in for a treat. To amplify your concert experience, I have compiled this short list of instructions to get the most out of your Cans' experience. Read and rock on.

1. Listen to their music beforehand

The Jerry Cans have two records available for your listening pleasure, Nunavuttitut and Aakaluk, both of which are available on iTunes. You can also listen to their music on Soundcloud (this will come in handy for Step 4). If you don't have time to go through all their songs, may I suggest "Ilatiit" and "Qanuinngittuq." Actually, do that right now while you read the rest of this list.

2. Grab some gear

Support local musicians and look like a rock star in a Jerry Cans' hoodie or tee. You can probably grab some swag at any one of their shows, or if you really want to have your fangirl on display, order ahead of time from their online shop.

3. Brush up on your Nunavut humour and current events

One thing I haven't mentioned in any of my previous Jerry-Can-fan posts is that the band members are wicked, wicked smart. Pay attention to their lyrics in whatever language(s) you know, and you'll get a taste of Nunavut politics, social issues, and idiosyncrasies. "GN Song" is one of my particular favourites, but "NorthMart" has a clearer and stronger message.

In between their clever and witty songs, The Jerry Cans' lead singer, Andrew, will undoubtably entertain you with his banter and distinctly Northern sense of humour. Want to keep up with what he's talking about? You might want to start by perusing these popular Facebook pages for local news and customs.

4. Learn a few lyrics

One of the reasons I love watching The Cans over and over again is because they put on a such an inclusive and participatory show. Their songs are meant to be sung out loud - if you know the words, that is. Clearly, many of their lyrics are in Inuktitut, but even non-Inuktitut speakers can get in on the fun by learning a few simple words. For example, "alianait" (ah-lee-ah-nite), which means "wonderful" and is the title of a Jerry Cans song. Watch the video for "Alianait," which was debuted on Finding True North, to get the pronunciation just right.

Another easy and fun Inuktitut word to know is "mamaqtuq," meaning "it's delicious" (always a good word to know in any language). Get this word down pat to impress the band and fool your fellow concertgoers into thinking you're a cool Northerner, too.

5. Learn a few dance moves

There is a particular style to Nunavut dancing. Part jig, part line dance, and a whole lot of, well, Inukness make up this happy, catchy style. Just watch the video below to get inspired and get moving.

6. Forget everything I wrote (if you want) and just have fun

The thing about music is, that when it's good, it's truly universal. The Jerry Cans are good, really good, and whether or not you've visited, lived in, or even heard about Nunavut, you'll get their groove.

To keep up with The Jerry Cans, make sure to like them on Facebook and follow them on Twitter. And if you happen to attend one of their shows, snap a pic and upload it to Instagram with #nunagram so we can see it!