July 27, 2018

Ancient Inuit music includes the chant-like songs of survival, joy, resilience and healing called Pisiit or Pihiit and are traditionally accompanied by the large Inuit drum. These songs are written in the traditional poetic terminology and were often banished and discouraged by Christian missionaries. The Pisiit course, taught by 6 elders and knowledge-keepers from all three regions of Nunavut, is held August 5-12 in Iqaluit. A gathering of 30 Inuit emerging and established artists will participate in this historic course, revitalizing these songs that are at risk of being lost.

The course includes instruction in the symbolism of the language, the terminology and the protocols for sharing and performing 9 Pisiit. The artists and elders will perform publicly in Iqaluit on August 9th and the goal is for the participants to continue to study and share Pisiit in their own communities and with youth. 

Elder Instructors:

Sidone Nirlungayuq: Kugaaruk

Bernadette Uttaq: Taloyoak

Madeline Ivalu: Igloolik

Miriam Aglukark: Gjoa Haven

Susan Avingaq: Igloolik

Francis Qapuk: Rankin Inlet

Vocal Skills: Susan Aglukark  and Looee Arreak

Drum Techniques:  Pakak Innuksuk and Siobhan Arnatsiaq Murphy

The Pisiit course is fundamental to the Qaggiq School of Performing Arts: Music Program. It is delivered in Inuktut.