People Facts

Inuit Throat Singing

Located at 63 ° latitude, -68° longitude.

Originally, Inuit throat singing was a form of entertainment among Inuit women while the men were away on hunting trips. It is an activity that is primarily done by Inuit women although there have been some men doing it as well. In the Inuit language, Inuktitut, throat singing is called katajjaq, pirkusirtuk or nipaquhiit depending on the Canadian Arctic region. It is regarded more as a type of vocal or breathing game in the Inuit culture and is a form of music. Often, the songs emulate the sound of nature such as the arctic wind.

Inuit throat singing is generally done by two women as a form of entertainment. One would lead with short deep rhythmic sounds while the other would respond. The leader would repeat sounds with short gaps in between. The follower would fill in these gaps with her own rhythmic sounds. The singers face each other in this form of musical entertainment, and the first one that laughs, loses the game.

Listen to Kendra Tagoona and Becky Kilabuk throat sing. Performed live in August 2008.

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