Modern Inuit Music

Music has always been a part of Inuit culture, but the great variety of instruments available today, as well as exposure to many different types of music has enabled local musicians to develop many different styles and types of music.

Rock, country western, blues, bluegrass, and even jazz music all have their fans in the Kivalliq communities, and there are a number of bands that perform in community events or just get together to jam. Gospel music has grown very rapidly in popularity in Rankin Inlet and around the region, and there are a number of musicians that share the blessings of their musical skills at churches and gatherings. Musicians also combine modern music with traditional Inuit rhythms and Inuktitut songs.

Katuutiit “Our Early Childhood”, “Panniikka”. The vocalist is Noah Tiktak, who is one of the webmasters for this site.

Katuutiit “Our Early Childhood”, the title song, an instrumental piece that combines a catchy percussion beat with keyboard and melodic vocals.

This CD is available direct from Noah Tiktak; call 867 645-2600 to talk to Noah if you want to order a copy.

Square dancing is popular, and there are many opportunities to square dance, especially at community events during Christmas and Easter. There are even square dance competitions. Click here to view a video of one of these held around Christmas, 2004.

Square dances may be done to pre-recorded music, but there are also many skilled accordion or concertina players in the community and the region. And, there are many people who play the fiddle. This music has its roots in traditions brought to the Arctic by the Scottish and American whalers who hunted the bowhead whales in Hudson Bay in the mid-1800s. People obtained the musical instruments by trading with the whalers and have passed the traditions down in their families.

Square dances here are not quite the same as those danced in the American west or in the prairie provinces; they also have roots in the old English or Welsh “round dances”. Whatever the roots, they are great exercise as one dance can go on for 40 minutes to an hour or more!