I love learning places. It's important to me to learn about places from a broad scope and on many scales; one way to think about this is 'from from the rocks to the politics'. To learn a place requires giving a bit of yourself to a place so you can become part of it and it can become part of you.
One way to begin to learn a place is to explore its culture And for me, music is a rich inroad to learning about culture. Music celebrates nearly every experience of the human condition and it occurs in a place or is influenced by a place. So I began to think about some songs and even a poem or two I already knew. Then with a bit of further pondering I realized these songs written by men of European descent, did not even begin to represent the music of the Arctic. So with the help of google, an entire evening was spent diving in to the native peoples' music of their homeland.
What I have learned thus far, is the traditional throat-singing of the Inuit people is still alive today in some millennial musicians. Throat singing mimics the natural sounds of the Arctic landscape: wind, ice, sea birds and more. Listen to a few songs and watch one of the videos below.
I also started wondering about music of merchant marines, fisherman, whalers, and others out on ships and boats in the Arctic Sea. There are few sea shanties to be found, yet numerous songs of the native whalers and other Inuit people were recorded by the Smithsonian you can listen to below.
Most of the contemporary music discovered through my evening of getting engrossed by this project was created for the sake of activism to save the Arctic from the many issues that threaten the habitat, culture, landscape, water, ocean, sea ica, and people.
And, because I have a passion for my local community radio KDNK, I also found the Utqiagvik community radio station KBRW station streaming from the Top of the World. A great way to hear the native language spoken today mixed in with english. And incredibly insightful weather forecasts - the high temperature today is -30F with a windchill of -50F. And they were just giving aggressive polar bear warnings for the community residents.
Thought you too may enjoy this dip into the music of the Arctic. If you know of other music or spoken word recordings, please post them in the comments below so I can add them to the playlist. Enjoy the songs on the playlist above and videos and websites below.