Charlie Ningiuk,
Inuit Nunangani
(Inukshuk, 2001)

It's hard to know what to expect from Inuit music when one's never traveled past Canada's Cape Breton in Nova Scotia and its Celtic-influenced melodies. However, one might expect something similar to the soft whimsical melodies of Native American flute music, or music that conjured the Arctic's natural wonder. In that case, the listener would be in for quite a surprise. Charlie Ningiuk's Inuit Nunangani proves startling in content and form. Here we have a strange breed of Northern Canadian rock 'n' roll, complete with electric guitars and drums, and translated lyrics.

Inuit Nunangani features eleven original songs composed by Ningiuk (electric rhythm guitar, lead vocals) and Eliasie Nowkawalk (electric rhythm guitar). Eric Brassard (bass, electric and acoustic, rhythm and lead guitars) and Paul Jankowski (drums) also contribute to the disc.

Although a liner flap features an advertisement for "other Inuit Recordings from Traditional to Contemporary," I'm not at all sure where Inuit Nunangani fits into that spectrum. One would be hard-pressed to consider the music traditional in any stretch of the word, and as for contemporary, it's not like any contemporary world music I've ever heard.

Listening to Inuit Nunangani provided an interesting musical experience. Now I can finally say I've heard just about "everything." If this album is any indication of true Inuit music, I won't need to travel this road again. It's too weird for my tastes!

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 6 July 2002

Buy it from