Labrador is home to the only album of classical music in the Inuktitut language in Canada and, quite likely, one of only a handful of collections of this type of music in the world,  according to Tom Gordon, the album's producer and a professor emeritus at Memorial University's School of Music

Pillorikput Inuit: Inuktitut Arias for All Seasons is an album of classical music for voice and strings sung in Inuktitut from the Labrador coast.

The album has been nominated for a 2016 East Coast Music Award, in the Best Aboriginal Recording category.

"[The music] was imported onto the Labrador coast by the Moravian missionaries, and then became the musical property of the Inuit of Labrador," said Gordon.

Gordon has been researching the Moravian music tradition in Labrador since he took a position at Memorial University in 2000.

Music brought to Labrador centuries ago

Moravian missionaries from Germany brought 18th and 19th century classical music with them to Labrador in the 19th century, and the music was quickly adapted by the Inuit for use in their Moravian churches.

Deantha Edmunds, the soprano on the album, said her Inuit father was from Hopedale.

Edmunds performed the music in Labrador this past fall.

"To connect [my] passion of classical singing and music to singing in Inuktitut in the churches where this music originated, it's beyond words," she said. 

"I still get really emotional when I think about that."

Have a listen to Deantha Edmunds and Tom Gordon's interview which aired on CBC Radio's Weekend AM.

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