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First Play: Riit, self-titled

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Holly Gordon

Rita Claire Mike-Murphy’s debut, self-titled EP contains just three songs, but it’s a perfect introduction to the 21-year-old Inuk singer from Pangnirtung, Nunavut, who has been playing music for as long as she can remember, sharing stages on tour with the likes of the Jerry Cans and Elisapie Isaac.

A throat singer, singer, guitarist and accordionist, Mike-Murphy recorded Riit — the name of her EP as well as her artist name — in Iqaluit with producers Michael P. Wojewoda and Andrew Morrison, the latter of whom co-founded Aakuluk Music, Nunavut’s new — and first — record label, on which Riit is being released. Mike-Murphy and Morrison co-wrote all three songs, while Wojewoda also played percussion and Nancy Mike, another co-founder of Aakuluk Music, is listed as a throat singer alongside Mike-Murphy.

Taking a cue from traditional folk songs and instrumentation, Mike-Murphy’s collection of songs dip between folk and pop, with her beautiful voice tying it all together.

“It’s funny,” she told Carly Lewis for the Globe and Mail, “I’ll meet people when I’m travelling, and they call my music ‘traditional.’ There is throat-singing in there, yes, but when people sing in English is that considered ‘traditional’ English music?”

Riit is a declaration that Mike-Murphy is determinedly looking forward, pulling from her musical tradition while creating her own sound.

Listen to Riit’s first three tracks in our player to the left, and get a brief guide to each of them below, as emailed from Mike-Murphy in Nunavut.


"'Imiqtaq' is a traditional children's song about fetching water that is sung all across Nunavut. It's one of my all-time favourites to sing to my little nieces and nephews. It's a short song so I decided to add my own verse into it."


"'Tavva' (short for 'tavvauvutit') is a farewell song that I wrote while going through a rough patch in my life, learning how to accept what is, make peace with it and just let go.


"'Kina' (short for 'kinaummangaarma') is a song that I wrote about being there for your closest friends, despite anything, just like how they'd be there for you."