We’re now entering a revolutionary time in Canadian music, where a new generation of up-and-coming musicians can find themselves represented within our country’s diverse mosaic of voices. This was the case for Rita Claire Mike-Murphy, a.k.a. Riit, a Nunavut artist who says seeing the recent rise of Indigenous music – from Polaris Music Prize winners Tanya Tagaq and Jeremy Dutcher, to the genre-redefining A Tribe Called Red – has given her “such high confidence in myself as an artist.”

Riit now joins what Dutcher calls the “Indigenous renaissance,” combining her love of synth-pop (“I listened to a lot of Lady Gaga”) with her native language of Inuktitut. Her music also features throat singing, field recordings of snow crunching, ravens singing, and her sharpening an ulu (a woman’s knife) – all essential sounds that embed an integral sense of home at the heart of Riit’s propulsive music.

“I wanted to incorporate sounds from home, just because that’s where these songs belong,” she explains. As for the language, Inuktitut speakers continue to decrease every year, and Riit is passionate about keeping it alive – as Dutcher has done with the even scarcer Wolastoq language. She adds, “I want my children and my grandchildren and generations after that to speak it.” Riit is also the host of an English and Inuktitut children’s program called Anaana’s Tent, which aims to educate its young viewers on Inuit culture.

This year will mark the release of Riit’s debut full-length album, which she worked on with producer Graham Walsh of the band Holy Fuck. For Riit, the hope with this album, and with all her music, is to “bring healing and forgiveness to people, especially Inuit.

“We carry immense trauma from colonization as a whole,” she continues, referring to the high rates of suicide, sexual abuse, as well as the inter-generational anguish of residential schools, and countless other historical injustices. “I really want to find a way for my art to open up more opportunities for discussions and healing.”