Throat singing can be heard around the world in various forms, but Inuit have developed a very unique style, methods and sounds all their own.
Throat singing was traditionally performed between two women. The songs are sung as a friendly competition; played as a game. One person sets the rhythm, the pace the sound and the other follow. The first person to outlast or not laugh is the winner, as each song tends to end in laughter. To learn more about throat singing watch the throat singing video podcast through the podcast menu or click here.
Many throat songs were created to mimic the sounds of daily life or surrounding natural elements and wildlife. As an example a song called “The Cleaning” mimics the sounds you would hear as the rails of the Qamutik was being cleaned; while another mimics the sound of a saw. These games helped to entertain children and women while the men were out hunting. Throat singing was banned by the Christian clergy for decades but in modern day has been accepted. Since then throat singing has seen resurgence in modern Inuit culture and is being restored to its former place of importance in Inuit culture. Many celebrations within Inuit communities be they northern or southern community events are accompanied by the sounds of throat songs.
Today throat singing is being passed on to the younger generation to be sure that this amazing piece of Inuit culture remains an honored tradition. It was traditionally passed on to daughter but now young boys are also taking their turn trying out the great game.