North

Youth songwriters win cash, celebrate Inuktitut music scene

Winners won up to $5,000 in cash and a chance to professionally record their songs on a CD.

'I’m pretty sure I’m going to be doing that my whole life,' says youth songwriter Leetia Kalluk

Leetia Kalluk won 1st place at this year's Qilaut Inuktut songwriting contest. The contest is run annually by the Government of Nunavut's Department of Culture and Heritage. (Submitted by Leetia Kalluk)

Leetia Kalluk says she was just experimenting with melodies to find a way to express her feelings.

But a song she wrote last year won gold at this year's Qilaut Inuktut songwriting contest. (Inuktut is a term for all Inuit languages, including Inuktitut, Inuinnaqtun and Inuvialuktun.)

"I was just playing with my guitar and I just started singing. And I was like, maybe this is a good song for me to write," said Kalluk, a teen from Arctic Bay, Nunavut.

Her song "Qaigialauri," meaning come closer in Inuktitut, took gold, while another one of her songs placed 9th.

"I love [songwriting] so I'm pretty sure I'm going to be doing that my whole life," said Kalluk.

Joey Nowyuk won 2nd place this year for his song 'Angijuq.' (David Kilabuk)
The Qilaut songwriting contest is run annually by the Department of Culture and Heritage with the territorial government. This year, there were 23 entries, and 10 songs were picked for their creativity and originality by a panel of musicians.

The top 10 winners get an opportunity to professionally record their songs on a CD, which will be released in February during the Uqausirmut Quviasuutiqarniq -- Nuanvut's yearly celebration of Inuit culture.

"I'm pretty excited," said Joey Nowyuk from Pangnirtung, who won 2nd place this year for his song "Angijuq," meaning older sibling. Nowyuk will be heading to a studio in Iqaluit to record his song soon.

This isn't Nowyuk's first time entering the contest — his co-written song placed first in 2015.

The first place winner received $5,000, second place $2,500 and bronze $1,500. The rest of the runner-ups got $500 each.

The winners, in order:

  1. Qaigialaurit, by Leetia Kalluk, from Arctic Bay.
  2. Angijuq, by Joey Nowyuk, from Pangnirtung.
  3. Aullarniaqtunga, by Abraham Eetak, from Arviat.
  4. Kihingmiuqlunuk,  by Abraham Eetak, from Arviat.
  5. Nagligijaugavit, by Corey Panika, from Rankin Inlet.
  6. Angirrarviga, by Angela Amarualik, from Igloolik.
  7. Ataata, by Colleen Nakashuk, from Iqaluit.
  8. Inuinnaujaami, by Gordon Kaniak, from Kugluktuk.
  9. Maanna, by Leetia Kalluk, from Arctic Bay.
  10. Hilami Ulapkiyami, by Gordon Kaniak, from Kugluktuk.

With files from Qavavao Peter

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