In ancient times, the Inuvialuit lived on the Bering land bridge. But a horrible monster terrorized the people, so they asked a shaman to cast a spell — sinking the bridge and protecting the people from the beast.
That’s the story of the Beringia Theory, a new album by Inuvialuit electronica musician Brandon Sonnet who spent six months composing the album that dropped on Dec. 9.
“It’s my second album this year,” he said. “Quite a few years ago I remember reading a study about our theorized migration from Asia — the Bering Strait separates Alaska and Siberia. The water is really shallow there and during the last Ice Age it used to be a land bridge, called Beringia. So this is a fantasy detailing all that, with a little bit of magic.
“The story of the album is us living on Beringia and there’s a monster that’s terrorizing us, so we have a shaman raise the water to wash him away. But at the same time, we lose our homeland and are forced to migrate.”
Influenced by artists such as Tanya Tagaq, particularly her latest album ‘Tongues,’ and inspired by fantasy epics like Game of Thrones, Sonnet said he was aiming to create a bit of mythology in the album, which was funded by NWT Arts.
With the goal of having a different sound in each of his albums like another of his musical heroes David Bowie, Sonnet said this work has many lines in Inuvialuktan.
“I like to call it almost tribal,” he said. “It’s influenced by a lot of the art that’s being made across the North right now. I watched the movie Slashback that was filmed in Pangnirtung, Nunavut and it just blew me away. I couldn’t believe how good it was. Seeing all these people across the North make all these cool things inspired me. I wanted to make something signature for myself.”
Sonnet isn’t done yet either. He’s already at work on another venture — a pop-punk project planned for a spring release.
Sonnet has been pumping out the tunes in recent years, and his work is being noticed, with a nod in the form of a nomination at the first-ever NWT Arts awards this year.
He is deeply thankful to those who have supported him over the years.
“It’s been a long ride but I feel like it’s picking up steam,” he said. “It feels like my hard work is starting to pay off.”
The Beringia Theory and all Sonnet’s albums can be purchased directly from his website at https://brandonsonnet.com or found on most music websites.