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Traditional Inuit songs once banned during colonialism focus of new course

Traditional Inuit songs once banned during colonialism focus of new course

IQALUIT — Ancient Inuit drum songs once banned as part of colonialism are being given renewed attention during a course in Nunavut next month. The Qaggiavuut Society says it will hold a five-day class on Pisiit, part of a broader effort to connect elders with the next generation of performers, in hopes of exposing the

IQALUIT — Ancient Inuit drum songs once banned as part of colonialism are being given renewed attention during a course in Nunavut next month.

The Qaggiavuut Society says it will hold a five-day class on Pisiit, part of a broader effort to connect elders with the next generation of performers, in hopes of exposing the style of music to other Nunavut communities.

Pisiit has struggled to survive over the years after the drum songs were banned by Christian missionaries for being too rooted in Inuit spirituality, the organizers said.

The course will be taught in Inuktut without translation by eight elders from various regions of the territory. Vocal techniques and performance skills will be taught by Inuktitut singer-songwriter Looee Arreak and Juno winner Susan Aglukark, known for her 1995 single “O Siem.”

The Pisiit course runs from Aug. 6 to 10 in Iqaluit.

Exposing the music to more people is an initiative launched last year by the Qaggiq Performing Arts School, a partnership with the National Theatre School of Canada and the National Theatre School of Greenland.

Classes will culminate on Aug. 9 in an evening performance of songs that haven’t been heard in public for over 50 years.

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