“Innuit Katitput” (Gathering of Innuit)
“Innuit Katitput (Gathering of Innuit)” by Jessie Oonark – Inuit Art from Baker Lake 1981 print collection presented by DaVic Gallery of Native Canadian Arts
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Notes from DaVic Gallery: “Innuit Katitput” (Gathering of Innuit) – Like people everywhere, the Inuit have songs for sad times and happy, for the end of a good hunt, to mock enemies and to greet friends. The human voice “throat music” is the primary musical instrument. Also, a flat, circular caribou skin drum, filled with pebbles provides a rhythmic accompaniment for these delightful tunes. To this day, proud Inuit gather around village fires for heartwarming singing and dancing. It is an exciting and fulfilling part of Inuit life loved by everyone in the village.
The Inuit drum is a traditional instrument seen across the north. Drumming was primarily done by men in most communities but not always the case. Drumming was performed at various celebrations, whether it was celebrating the first successful hunt of a young boy or the birth of a child. Drumming was banned by religious figures and government and was seen to be unholy or represented a danger to the philosophies to the church. In modern day Inuit can proudly be seen and heard celebrating an event or their culture once again. There are many young Inuit children who are more than happy to learn this great art form and help to continue proudly celebrating a rich culture. Inuit drums were traditionally made from caribou skin stretched over driftwood which was softened and made into a ring. The drum has a handle which protrudes downward to hold and rotate the drum. The handle was often covered in fur such as seal skin. The Inuit drum is played differently than most drums in that it is not the skin which is struck but rather the rim of the drum.