Video

'Not Inuk enough to be Inuk, not white enough to fit in': This musician is carving her own identity

For Nunavut's Kathleen Merritt, throat singing is a way of reclaiming her own cultural identity as both Inuk and Irish.

For Nunavut's Kathleen Merritt, throat singing is a way of reclaiming her own cultural identity

For musician Kathleen Merritt, throat singing is a way of reclaiming her own cultural identity. 3:58

Kathleen Ivaluarjuk Merritt is a throat singer who tours internationally, collaborating with artists across genres. And the music she creates has been an indispensable tool for Merritt, who's used her art as a way to help find her identity as both Irish and Inuk.

Growing up, Merritt says she had questions about her mixed heritage. So she began to explore her family history — and her album Icelines and Sealskin is part of the product of that quest.

Now, as an ambassador for Inuit culture, it's important for her to keep learning stories and traditions from her elders and her community. It's the sharing of these stories that keep Inuit tradition and culture alive. So she spends her time both touring and teaching workshops to youth in her own community and across Nunavut.

(CBC Arts)

In this video, Merritt takes you through her journey to learn her family's history and bring both her Inuk and Irish background into her throat singing. (And as you'll see, she holds a special place in her heart for Nova Scotia, its people and the land.)

You can see Kathleen Merritt performing in Iqaluit at Inuksuk High School on September 30, in Sydney, NS at Centre 200 on October 6 and in Baddeck, NS at Wagmatcook Culture and Heritage Centre on October 7. Check here for more dates across the country.

Watch Exhibitionists on Friday nights at 12:30 a.m. (1 NT) and Sundays at 3:30 p.m. (4NT) on CBC Television.

About the Author

Corinne Dunphy

Corinne Dunphy is a Nova Scotian documentary filmmaker and graduate of NSCAD University (BFA) and Ryerson University (MFA in documentary media). Her film “Well Fished” has been screened at over 30 festivals on an international spectrum. She is currently living in Iqaluit, Nunavut. She uses stories to engage, educate and help foster social change. As a visual storyteller, Dunphy gravitates towards everyday characters and trusts that character-driven documentaries can speak volumes on larger social issues. She is influenced and inspired by her travels, Betty Crocker cookbooks and Edward Gorey.