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'Chasing their dreams:' Nunavut Hitmakerz hold music workshops for youth

Nunavut Hitmakerz, a songwriting and music production tour, wrapped up its summer dates with a community talent show in Qikiqtarjuaq on Monday.

Songwriting and music production tour travels to Clyde River, Pond Inlet and Qikiqtarjuaq

Nunavut Hitmakerz, led by Iqaluit music producer Thor Simonsen and Sanikiluaq singer Kelly Fraser, with youth in Qikiqtarjuaq. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

Nunavut Hitmakerz, a songwriting and music production tour, wrapped up its summer dates with a community talent show in Qikiqtarjuaq on Monday.

The group, led by Iqaluit music producer Thor Simonsen and Sanikiluaq singer Kelly Fraser, travelled to Clyde River, Pond Inlet and Qikiqtarjuaq this August.  

'We’re really blown away from the support that everyone has shown us,' says Thor Simonsen. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

In each community they held three-day workshops with young people on songwriting and music production to unlock the youth's musical potential.

"It's been pretty overwhelming," says Simonsen.

"We're really blown away from the support that everyone has shown us, and the participants have been amazing. We've seen some incredible talent."

"Inuit are naturals at making songs so it's been really easy," adds Fraser.

Fraser says the community involvement has been a highlight of the project showcased in the talent show held in each hamlet on the last day of the workshops.

'They have a voice and tools available'

Simonsen says the incentive behind the project was to give young people in Nunavut the tools and know-how to pursue their goals in music.

"We want to see people chasing their dreams," says Simonsen.

Thor Simonsen and Kelly Fraser from Nunavut Hitmakerz are leaving behind some basic music recording and production tools in each community they visit. (Jordan Konek/CBC)

"They have a voice and tools available to them to make a better lives for themselves."

"It bring a lot more possibilities of positive instead of just being all negative," says Markosie Nauyavik, one of the participants in the workshops at Qikiqtarjuaq.

"For many years we've been pushed down, we've been hurt a lot. Just to see another positive example like this will make a lot of difference."

Simonsen says youth living in remote northern communities are hungry for any form of diversion, but the lack of distractions in these small hamlets can be an asset for budding artists.

"The fact that there's a lot of time and not a lot to do is a blessing in disguise," he says.

"You have a lot of time to focus on what you love."

To help young people achieve their musical goals, the Nunavut Hitmakerz team is leaving behind some basic music recording and production tools in each community they visit including a laptop and microphone.

"We know how hard it is for artists to get the tools to do what they love," says Fraser.

The group has also set up a Facebook group so that the workshop participants can continue to share their creations with the mentors and get feedback on their future projects.

with files from Jordan Konek

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