Monthly Archives: February 2012

The Love Song, an Inuit Throat Song recorded in the community of Arviat, NW Hudson Bay, Canada

The Love Song

An Inuit Throat Song

Inuit throat singing is the province of women. Two singers stand very close together, literally exchanging breath, singing in wide-ranging, wordless, onomatopoetic tones. The singing is in close syncopation, mimicking the close proximity of the singers. It is an open-throated sound, using glottal stops rather than the more closed throat overtone-rich style of Mongolian throat song. And, despite the wordlessness, the intent and topic of the songs is remarkably clear.
This song, The Love Song, is a contest. She who laughs first looses. I recorded the singers, Karen Panigoniak and Maria Illungiayok, in the traditional Inuit community of Arviat, in NW Hudson Bay. Karen and Maria studied Inuit throat song for over a decade. They are terrific performers.

This piece is being broadcast Valentine’s Day and throughout the week on Living on Earth. In following weeks more of Karen and Maria’s excellent work.

Audio MP3