Lazarus Qattalik and his Iqippagit bandmates are having a great time jamming and touring the festival circuit, but they also have a charitable side.
They showed that during the Christmas holidays when they put on a benefit concert for the Iglulik food bank, which received half the proceeds from an Iqippagit show at the community hall. The other half went to the recreation department.
“In this small community it’s hard to make holiday foods because they’re so expensive. I was just thinking of helping out a little bit,” Qattalik said, adding that many others helped contribute to make the event a success.
Iqippagit, which translates as “hug,” was formed in 2005 when Qattalik was around 12 or 13 years old. Their rehearsal schedule is irregular.
“Sometimes we go almost a year without playing. Sometimes we play a lot,” said Qattalik.
Ten of the 20 or so songs in the band’s catalogue – with lyrics mostly in Inuktitut – have been recorded on their 2017 debut self-titled album, which was recorded in Iglulik’s old hall.
Qattalik, the lead singer and guitar player, and his bandmates write their own material. Allen Nash Kangok plays piano and bass guitar. Billy-Jay Ammaq picks the electric guitar while Jordan Ipkangnak joins in on drums.
The group has played at events and festivals in Iglulik, Iqaluit, Yellowknife and elsewhere.
Qattalik can remember playing drums “at the little church” when he was just eight years of age. Despite 12 years of experience and plenty of gigs, he doesn’t consider himself a veteran rocker.
“I’m still pretty new (to) music,” he said.
Although he’s generally “very shy”, he said he doesn’t have any reservations about stepping on stage and entertaining a crowd.
“There’s something about it. I just like it,” he said.
The Jerry Cans and the Trade-offs are among the first acts he named as his favourites to listen to, but he said there are many others.
“All the Nunavut bands are good,” he said.