This is one of my blogs from way back, but I think it is one of the most entertaining! This is partially because I had just graduated from a Flip Camera (if anyone remembers those) to an actual camcorder with a real zoom function, and I was able to get WAY close shots. It is also fascinating for its subject; traditional Inuit singing, and if you’ve never heard this folk form, you are in for something– It is sometimes called “throat singing, but I think this is a misnomer, since that term is usually applied to overtone singing, whereas I think most of this playful Inuit music derives its sound from being sung on the inhale, as well as the exhale. I caught the two Inuit cousins, Celina Kalluk and Lucie Idlout opening for the International Body Music Festival that was presented in Damrosch Park, behind Lincoln Center in NYC. For me they were one of the high points. I’m not sure if it was due to their fascinating singing, or their obvious ease with each other. Every time I zoomed in for the closeup shots, the thought kept popping into my head “Boy, you have to love the person you are singing this stuff with in order to do it.” I think it says a lot about the Inuit culture.
It’s also a very informative video because these two ladies explain the music in a friendly and charming way, unlike many of the more ethnographic videos that demonstrate this music.
Another Inuit singer, who is a cousin of Lucie and Celina’s is Tanya Tagaq. Her style of singing is far more athletic and personal, and takes the sound to new, even more extended places. She has since made a name for herself working with a variety of high profile artists most notably Björk and the Kronos Quartet.