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QAUNAK & NAPACHIE...MORE THAN THROAT SINGERS


Directed by Joan Reed-Olsen
Wayward Productions Inc., 1993. VHS cassette, 51 min., $75.00. (The Canadian Collection). Distributed by Magic Lantern Communications.


Grades 8 and up / Ages 13 and up

Reviewed by Christine Jacobs

Volume 22 Number 6
1994 November/December


This is an account of a throat-singing tour by two Inuit women from Cape Dorset. Both are established artists. Qaunak Mikkigak is a carver, and Napachie Pootoogook is a painter. These women learned to throat-sing as children, but it was only in later life that they decided to join in the effort to keep this musical form alive.

Part of the video deals with the tour itself footage of the concerts and the audiences and of the women's reactions to the southern environment. Interspersed with the tour are interviews with various people discussing their works of art. Ojibwe artist Blake Debassigo and Cree artist Shirley Cheechoo discuss the Inuit art forms in relation to those they work with themselves. Also interspersed throughout are analyses of the throat-singing form.

This video is somewhat difficult to evaluate. The content is certainly interesting and valuable. However, the general impression, caused by the way the material has been edited, is that the information is disjointed and superficial. The video would have had much more impact if it had been edited so that the sections analyzing the artworks and those analyzing the throat singing were more cohesive. In addition, the tone of the narration is occasionally stilted, almost patronizing, as if it had been overwritten.

This said, I would still recommend the video for high school collections. It would be useful in discussions of women's issues, aboriginal issues, music, art, and multi-culturalism.


Christine Jacobs (Montreal, Que.) is a freelance indexer who for the past nine years has indexed films and videos for Film/Video Canadiana
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