In April and May 2021, SING THE NORTH journeyed to Qitiqtaaluk, or Baffin Island, in Nunuvut to sing QILAK by Manitoba-based Cree composer, Andrew Balfour.

Based on an indigenous chant style and written in a combination of Inuktitut and English, QILAK took our singers on a spiritual journey through the blinding Arctic wilderness in search of the floe edge where the ice meets the open ocean.

Unsure where we were in the snowy expanse, we looked up, saw the reflection of the water in the distant sky, and learned about remoteness and belonging. We raised our voices in harmony, in friendship, and in thanks. We learned more than we expected about how it feels to be on an Arctic landscape, and what it means to live where you belong.

Meet Andrew Balfour

Of Cree descent, Andrew Balfour is an innovative composer, conductor, singer, and sound designer with a large body of choral, instrumental, electro-acoustic and orchestral works, including Take the Indian (a vocal reflection on missing children), Empire Étrange: The Death of Louis Riel, Bawajigaywin (Vision Quest) and Manitou Sky, an orchestral tone poem.

His new Indigenous opera, Mishaboozʼs Realm, was commissioned by LʼAtelier Lyrique de l’Opéra de Montréal and Highlands Opera Workshop.

Virtual Field Trip

A Visit with Looee Arreak in Iqaluit, Qikiqitaalak, Nunuvut

Every SING THE NORTH project features a trip in our virtual choir tour bus, a special session when we travel together as a choir to a different part of Canada to meet the people who live and work there.

SING THE NORTH travelled on the STN Virtual Tour Bus to Iqaluit, the capital of Nunuvut, where we had the huge priviledge of spending an hour in the company of the Inuit singer, composer, director, and teacher, Looee Arreak.

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