Iqaluit arts festival brings northerners together

It's the Canada Day long weekend, and music is filling the air for the Alainait Arts Festival in Iqaluit.

Alianait Arts Festival runs until July 1

It's the Canada Day long weekend, and music is filling the air for the Alianait Arts Festival in Iqaluit.

The festival brings artists and musicians from around the North together for the city’s ninth year. It also hosts musicians and artists from around the world.

It’s Kelly Fraser and the Easy Four band's first time at Alianait. Fraser and band mates George, Liza and Charlie are from Sanikiluaq, Nunavut. They’ve been playing together since 2009 and have performed in a few other northern communities.

"But this one is even bigger because it's in the capital, and there's a lot of people involved, and we're going to meet other artists, which we're very excited about, and yeah, we're pretty pumped up," said Fraser.

Franco Buscemi, chair of the Alianait Arts Festival board, said this year's festival has a good mix of northerners and people from around the world. (CBC)

Fraser's popularity took off last year with the release of NS Style, a collaboration with other Nunavut Sivuniksavut classmates, Their popular song is a take on the hit song ‘Gangnam Style’ by Korean pop musician Psy.

Artists from around the world

Alianait's goal has always been to showcase performers from all the world.

"We've got artists coming in from B.C., and coming in from Australia, and Quebec, so we'll have a good mix of our home talent and visitors," said Franco Buscemi, chair of the Alianait Arts Festival board.

Well-loved Greenlandic musician Rasmus Lyberth is excited to be back in Nunavut for the festival.

"Our culture is connected, we're close together, and I'm happy to be here. I hope that more people from Greenland can visit here, and vice versa," he said.

The Circumpolar Soundscape will perform Sunday. It’s a collaboration between four female aboriginal singer-songwriters.

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Leela Gilday from Yellowknife, Sylvia Cloutier from Iqaluit, Nive Nielsen from Nuuk, Greenland and Diyet from Yukon's Burwash Landing will perform as a group.

The group has performed in Whitehorse, Yellowknife, and Greenland’s capital, Nuuk.

Diyet said bringing this group of artists together just seemed like a good idea.

"We are very diverse. We're very different. We have different styles of music. We've got different lives. But we have this common thread and it's this northern pull."

There are two performances for the soundscape in Iqaluit on Sunday. One is at 2 p.m. and the other is at 7 p.m., both at the Nakasuk School gym.

Enchanted Owl theme

There will be workshops, new creations and performances throughout the weekend. A closing concert will be held Monday.

"All the artists come together and they collaborate on a piece, and every year it's been pretty impressive, and this year we're adding a new dynamic to it," said Buscemi.

The Enchanted Owl will be theme of that collective effort, which is in honour of the internationally known artist Kenojuak Ashevak from Cape Dorset. Ashevak passed away earlier this year.

The Alianait Arts Festival runs until July 1.