ARNAKULUIT / BEAUTIFUL WOMEN

18. August 2024 20:30

Põlva Kultuurikeskuse katuseterrass

Tamara Takpannie has learned traditional throat singing from the world-famous throat singer Charlotte Qamaniqi. The singer, originally from Nunavut Iqaluit, Canada, uses throat singing in her everyday life as the medium to preserve, revive and pass on the Inuit culture.

Kathy Kettler is an Inuit who performs both modern and traditional Inuit throat singing. Kathy’s roots are in Kangiqsualujjuaq, Nunavik, Quebec, but she has been living in Southern Canada, meanwhile still maintaining strong ties to her culture through her Inuit friends, parents and family. Kathy learned throat singing from her sister Karin and has performed for many years in her homeland as well as internationally.

The title of the concert, “Arnakuluit”, means “Beautiful Women” that very well explains the contents of the programme. It is customary that among Arctic nations, only women practice throat singing and there is a reason behind it. Hunting and fishing were traditional men’s tasks that took them away from their igloo villages for multiple days in a row. Similarly to human habitation, fauna is scarce in polar conditions and distant from one another. The hunters, to provide their community with fresh food during a long and dark winter, often needed to leave their families far behind for weeks, while following seals or polar bears on ice, with their sledges, dogs and camping gear. The women’s task meanwhile was to feed their children and themselves, with what they had collected during the short summer months and keep the fire in the igloo hearth constantly slightly glowing. The women taking care of the households, while visiting each other to help pass time, started singing. There are however its own dangers when singing in the cold arctic climate. Gasping for air with an open mouth, can end in a sore throat or pneumonia. An art of competing in imitating the sounds of nature, with a closed mouth was thus born that challenges the vocal tract. The true virtuosos managed to contact their ancestral spirits this way and ask for their guidance if needed. 

At the concert you will hear traditional Inuit throat singing that brings you an arctic atmosphere and an echo from a faraway culture. Aside from the demonstration of throat singing, you will be introduced to its historical background and meaning. Kathy, in addition to singing, also uses the traditional Inuit drum, during her performances. Tamara and Kathy have been singing together since 2017.