various artists,
The Inuit Artist World Show Case
(Inukshuk, 1996)

After my last Arctic experience (with Charlie Ningiuk's Inuit Nuangani) where the style surprised me, I now realize that as many types of Inuit music exist as in any other culture.

The Inuit Artist World Show Case provides a varied sampling of musical genres and styles. Artists like Chuna McIntyre and Marie Meade ("The Man in the Moon") and Drama Group ("Alainiatuqarpuq") create music similar to what I imagined Inuit music to be like. Surprisingly, Heidi Aklaseaq Senungetuk's violin piece proved evocative and full of suspense. Jimmy Ekho reminded me of an Inuit Willy Nelson (but with a smoother voice) with his folksy guitar music. Charlie Tumik fiddled a fine tune, perhaps one of the most pleasing performances of all. Paris, France came to mind, and not snow drifts or caribou, in Leah Surusila's lively piece. Anita Issalukxib played a mean harmonica in western style, but the knee-slapping stopped abruptly as the lyrics began.

However, other artists, like Neillie Echalook and Patsauq Iqaiuk, portray styles far too primeval (or is it progressive?). I've never had a good ear for panting and grunting and couldn't tell an ancient groan from a new age moan (regardless of the fact that I had 8:23 minutes to figure it out). Greenland Band's "Sauna" had my head below water. Taqurinai inspired an equally strange musical experience, with an a cappella piece (or was it a skit?) -- to be honest, I'm not sure. For all I know, it could have been a comedy routine.

The varied selections offered in The Inuit World Show Case make it difficult to figure out exactly where the heart and soul of Inuit music lies. For music to grab on to me, I need to see the heart -- the bigger, the better.

[ by Lynne Remick ]
Rambles: 13 July 2002

Buy it from