This may or may not be news to some of you, since I’ve been obsessed with Inuit throat singing for some time and have blogged about it before, but it’s still too astounding not to bring up here.
This is a video of Janet Aglukkaq and Kathy Keknek throat singing between their classes at Qiqirtaq Ilihakvik in Gjoa Haven, Nunavut. The “off the cuff” feel of the video shot “between classes” coupled with their completely incredible sense of rhythm and command of tone makes this video really incredible to me. I don’t know about you, but where I was growing up kids definitely didn’t engage in throat singing between classes and high school would have been WAY better if they did. My friend Michael Dumontier, a Canadian artist, is also a huge fan of throat singing and has seen it live, which I never have. He says that live the singers really do maintain eye contact and often the singing ends in laughter. He says, “I read that the inuit throat singing game also ends if someone runs out of breath (making the one that holds on longest the winner)…I like the idea of determining a song’s length based on how much breath you have.” I love that idea as well. It actually reminds me of many durational performance art pieces such as Laurie Anderson’s early violin concerts on ice-skates embedded in melting ice. I love the idea that this is a beautiful, expressive art, as well as a fun game that is very connected to the physicality of and relationship between the performers.
Below the video of Janet and Kathy is another of Aryaut and Aniksak , Inuit Traditional Throatsingers from Arviat, Nunavut CANADA.