Getting ‘Up Close and Personal’ with Lucie Idlout and Tamara Podemski

By Caroline Lauder

Up Close and Personal with Lucie Idlout and Tamara Podemski was an intimate concert sponsored by “Native Women in the Arts” at the infamous Bar Italia in downtown Toronto on March 31, 2007.

The night kicked off with Tamara Podemski’s wonderful eclectic mix of gentle and traditional folk sounds that captivated the audience right from the beginning. Her highly-trained and unique style is at times reminiscent of an Alanis Morrisette sound yet manages to stay very original. Tamara uses her spirituality and political views as the forefront for her lyrics in songs to captivate her audience with well-known songs such as; So Damn Beautiful” “She Knows Better” “Ignore” “ “Meegwetch” “Standing Strong” and “All My Relations”. Her enthusiasm spread and engaged the audience throughout the entire performance, which explains why she was nominated for 4 Aboriginal Music Awards: Best Female Artist, Best Songwriter, Best Song/Single (Meegwetch), Best Music Video.

There were give-aways to encourage people to feel even better before the beautiful and talented Lucie Idlout was to perform.
Once the prizes were all given away, Lucie Idlout hit the stage with her intense, alternative; rock n’ roll style belting out one heart felt song after the other. Hailing from all the way from the Territory of Nunavut, her uniqueness of character will grab you even though you may find similarities to that of Shirley Manson of Garbage and Annie Di Franco. If you like those singers then these particular songs will completely grab you: Whiskey Breath”, “Berlin” and “Sorry”. Her no-nonsense, tell it like it is way of getting her message in your face is one you will clearly enjoy. Lucie Idlout maybe a full-out rocker from beginning to end but her vocal style and lyrical messages are so damn unique that is at times a bit haunting. She manages to inject dark, bluesy style that also manages to be highly feminine at the same time as it can be heard in the song “E5-770: My Mothers Name”. If you don’t know the situation behind this then you should as the title refers to the government’s registration of the Inuit by number rather than Inuktitut names, which explains Lucy’s pain and rage in her music. Lucie Idlout is one powerful songwriter/singer who can wake you up, and make you pay attention. Lucie Idlout has the kind of power to knock you off your seat and then hand you a drink to quench your musical thirst. She is definitely an experience you will not want to miss.

Although both acts were very different in style, the performances were all well-received by full house of grateful well-rounded music lovers. If it did anything, it definitely left you wanting more. I would have to thank “Native women in the Arts” for putting on such a wonderful evening and allowing music lovers such diversity and talent.

“Native Women in the Arts” is a non-for-profit organization for First Nations, Inuit and Métis women of diverse artistic disciplines who share a common interest in culture, art, community and the advancement of Indigenous people. They are just all-round wonderful people too.