Available: May 6th, 2016
I’m Lost in the City (1971) is the sole vinyl LP offering from Yup’ik singer-songwriter, John Angaiak. Born in Nightmute, Alaska, in 1941, Angaiak began playing guitar at a young age, quickly learning the basics before serving in the U.S. Armed Forces. Stationed in Vietnam and far away from home, Angaiak forged an astute outlook on his region, his country, and the world itself. Upon his return, Angaiak enrolled in the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, where he became active in the preservation of his native language as part of the school’s Eskimo Language Workshop.
Inspired by the program’s work and a friendship with music student Stephen Halbern, Angaiak recorded I’m Lost in the City, a project that helped to document and promote the previously oral Yup’ik language into a written one through a series of songs. Each side of the album, which showcases John’s intimate vocal and guitar style, shares a part of Angaiak’s culture and history: Side One is sung in Yup’ik, while the material on Side Two is delivered in English. Both are equally emotional, deeply personal and extremely affecting.
Over 13 songs, Angaiak speaks to his community and also to the world. “Ak’a Tamaani,” for one, became a regional hit in Alaska and reached as far as Greenland where Angaiak later performed in concert. Though I’m Lost in the City garnered a small mention in industry bible Billboard, regardless of the album’s cultural value, it sold poorly outside of Alaska and other northern communities, never finding a broader audience. In addition to his work as a painter and author, Angaiak is a proud family man and a source of great knowledge of his people and the changes they have faced over the years, shifting from a subsistence hunting, fishing, and sharing lifestyle to an increasingly urban influenced cash-based existence. An important statement on indigenous life and the human condition, I’m Lost in the City showcases Angaiak’s first hand perspective on this challenging transition, something that we can all learn a great deal from.
Pre-order link: http://lightintheattic.net/releases/2253-i-m-lost-in-the-city