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Iqaluit's Trade-Offs moving up in music world
Band playing at Yellowknife's big summer music festival this year

Simon Whitehouse
Northern News Services

The Trade-Offs have been together for about a year and a half but it seems the four-member blues rock band is continuing to gain momentum in the city.

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Paul White, from left, Joshua Qaumariaq, Jeff Maurice and Kris Mullaly make up the band the Iqaluit band Trade-Offs. The band will be playing the Folk on the Rocks outdoor musical festival in Yellowknife . - photo courtesy of Joshua Qaumariaq

The band, made up of Paul White, Joshua Qaumariaq, Jeff Maurice and Kris Mullaly most recently played a gig at the Mahahaa Comedy Jam at the Franco-Centre in Iqaluit and is set to play the Folk on the Rocks outdoor music festival in Yellowknife in July.

"We're pretty excited about that one," said Qaumariaq, the band's lead singer and guitarist. "It is probably going to be one of the biggest gigs we have had in the last year for the four of us. We have been performing just over a year now, so it is pretty cool to play. I think Folk on the Rocks is going to be huge."

Qaumariaq is the youngest member of the band at 28. He and band mate Jeff Maurice, 40, of Iglulik had started in late 2011 as a duo and soon found Kris Mullaly, 38, as the drummer and White, 38, as a bassist.

"I've been playing shows since 2008 and Jeff and the rest have been playing since they were teens," said Qaumariaq. "They have a way more broad musical background than I do, which is a good thing.

"I learn tons from those guys since they have been playing more than double that I have been playing."

The band in some ways came together in the shadow of tragedy. Qaumariaq said the group quickly gelled together when they first played at a fundraiser at the legion for last year's White Row fire victims. Two people died in the February 2012 fire while 85 people were left temporarily homeless by the fire, which destroyed 22 units.

"There were a lot of people and musicians and they raised quite a bit of money," he said.

Qaumariaq said it isn't hard to come across other musical acts in Iqaluit. As a media professional working full time, he is aware of developments in the entertainment industry around the community. He gets a sense the music scene is growing.

"I think it is growing after the Jerry Cans last year played Folk on the Rocks and I think that bumped us (as a city) up pretty big," he said. "So yeah, I think it is getting bigger. Hopefully with new venues coming here, it will bump it up even more."

A planned Nunavut Performing Arts Centre sometime in the future, for example, will go along way to accommodating the growing music scene, he said.

Among other gigs, the band played at a rare small comedy jam put on by up-and-coming comedian Nanauq Kusugak. The band has also picked up performances at the Hay Days Festival last year in Hay River, the Peter Gzowski Invitational Golf Tournament last month in Rankin Inlet, and played at the Canadian Music Week in Toronto in March.

It was at that time they met Toronto producer Doug Romanow, who they are hoping to work with in the coming year to record an album. The band recorded its first five-song demo tape album this past September, but hope with enough money raised, they can finalize work on the album next winter or summer, said Qaumariaq.

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