Tuesday, March 29, 2011


Music is the universal language. When I visited the younger grades who don't speak very much English, the teachers acted as translators. I especially liked playing my instrumental tune "Snow" for them... I asked them to close their eyes and imagine what it was about. Some of them could guess, but it was awesome when the teachers explained it in Inuktitut for me while I acted out a blizzard ( I got the kids to make wind noises).

I got my voice partially back today, so I was able to sing "Carrion Crow" for the kids. I explained the story ("Crow" is "tulugaq" in Inuktitut) and the kids kept the beat while I sang.

Some of the kids (especially in the younger grades) danced while I played Morrison's Jig. There is a traditional Inuit dance that looks a little like highland dance and goes really well with a jig!

I spent the day with the rest of the classes and then after school I took my harp to choir. Susan has done a wonderful job teaching the kids some great little songs and dances. I brought a few new warm ups to them and taught them a couple of simple silly songs. The choir has only just started this year, and they are working on finding a balance that will suit all the different ages and abilities. The kids seem to have a wonderful sense of rhythm and really got a kick out of singing Raffi's "Brush Your Teeth" song.

I found it really interesting that through my music it seemed like I was able to connect a lot more with some of the Inuit teachers. It was as if music broke down a few of the language barriers.

After supper Frances, Lisa and I went to sewing again. It was wonderful for me to go to the sewing group tonight and feel like I had a new connection with the community. I especially liked talking with Tirak, one of the elders. She teaches the kindergarten classes, and I think she really enjoyed the harp.

I didn't get a lot done on my parka, but Tirak and I layed on the floor and talked for quite a while. Her son works at the airport- she was very proud that he was one of the few people chosen to go to Rankin Inlet and take the course so that he could work there. I told her how amazing it was for me to arrive at the airport after seeing nothing but snow for so long and how I felt like we were almost going to land in the water. She was telling me how her son helped the pilots navigate their way in and then she was telling me all about how people can find food in this harsh environment. I asked her what the Caribou eat. and she said that there aren't many Caribou anymore, but they dig down in the snow for roots and moss to eat during the winter.

It was an incredible amount of work for Sean to make me the case so that Gwenivere could get all the way up here with me... And I wish I could have had a recording of each class's reaction when I told them he made the harp and the case... but it was so worth it. It was amazing to connect with the kids and their teachers and amazing to break down a few of those language barriers and connect with the community too. 

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