Terry Uyarak made headlines earlier this year when he and a friend set out from their Igloolik, Nunavut, home on a traditional Inuit polar-bear hunt, travelling into the wild for ten days on dog sleds without GPS or phones. The self-taught musician has shown that same level of intrepid dedication to his artistic craft throughout the past decade, performing as an actor and juggler while touring the globe with ARTCIRQ, the world’s only Inuit circus troupe. Uyarak’s debut album combines uplifting songs and reverent spoken-word passages with field recordings of dog teams, taking listeners on an emotionally stirring journey to the Far North.
 

The cinematic sound of Nunarjua Isulinginniani (Before the World Ends) can be credited to producer Jace Lasek of the Montreal bandThe Besnard Lakes, whose credits include celebrated releases from Land of Talk, Patrick Watson, and Wolf Parade. Lasek’s orchestral indie-rock swells occasionally tip the album into the sentimental territory of a movie montage, but that encouraging quality was Uyarak’s intention behind the song “Aniqsaatuinnarit” (featuring fellow Nunavut artist Becky Han), written when he and his wife were struggling to get through a tough period during the twenty-four-hour sun. The most striking sonic moment occurs near the album’s conclusion in “Inuugannuk,” which spotlights Uyarak’s voice against a sparse backdrop of howling huskies and decayed pianos. He brings the journey full circle on the closer, “Igloolik”—a spirited ode to his home in the Arctic—with a melody that will stick with you no matter what your destination might be.