Alacie Tullaugaq
& Lucy Amarualik,
Katutjatut: Throat Singing
(Inukshuk, 1998)

I want to say only good things about Katutjatut: Throat Singing by Alacie Tullaugaq and Lucy Amarualik, but I can't. There are times they blow me away with what they can do, the sounds and melodies they form. And there are times when the sounds they produce do nothing for me.

Alacie Tullaugaq and Lucy Amarualik are the only performers on the CD. You have only their voices, the interplay of sound between sound as one fills in the gaps the other leaves. Their voices are wonderfully rich.

The songs are vocal games where the singers alternate making sounds one after the other. At times the patterns created by this give and take are quite elaborate; at others, it seems that each singer is singing the same sound repeatedly. That is why I find "Naujaaluk," "Qairurvaluk," "Nirliujaq," "Anuriujaq," "Nunaqatigingitut" and "Kasuvartaq" hard to listen to. I want more than what they are, and maybe I want too much. You still have the constant back and forth, the give and take from one to the other, but that is all I get from those songs.

"Pilurvirutik" starts to give you a feel for what they can do. There is a rough squeezebox feel to "Piararmit Inaqutik" that makes the song fun to listen to, while "Sinnasairutik" has a funky edge that fades in and out. "Killuvaluk" has a raspy edge, similar to the sound of a Swedish saw cutting wood. There is such warmth in "Pinguagutik" that it fills you and leaves you well rested.

From the first note "Qimmiruluapik" has all the feel of a walking song and I love what they are doing with their voices. Skip a song ("Kasuvartaq") and you get to watch the geese fly in "Kuvallu." With the last song, "Pinguarutik" you can almost see the sunset.

Katutjatut is a good CD and the music is wonderful at times. However, I can't help but wish all the songs were as good as their best.

[ by Paul de Bruijn ]
Rambles: 1 February 2003

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