Inuit throat singing duo to perform at Waawaateg opening ceremony

Tarniriik members Samantha Kigutaq Metcalfe and Cailyn Nanauq Degrandpre. Photo via the Downtown Kingston BIA.

This Friday, Tarniriik will perform at the unveiling of Waawaateg, a sound and light installation which will be on display in Confederation Park.

The Inuit throat singing duo of Samantha Kigutaq Metcalfe and Cailyn Nanauq Degrandpre began studying throat singing at age two at the Ottawa Inuit Children’s Centre, now Inuuqatigiit, according to a release from the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA).

“Tarniriik means ‘two souls.’ In Inuit culture, throat singing is typically performed by two women or girls. It is a kind of competition with a leader and a follower. The first singer to laugh or make a mistake loses,” the release reads.

Waawaateg (meaning ‘There is a display of the northern lights’ in Anishinaabemowin-Ojibway) is an interactive light and sound display produced by the Downtown Kingston Business Improvement Area (BIA) in partnership with members of the local Indigenous community. According to the release, the outdoor installation offers visitors the opportunity to experience Indigenous storytelling, art, and language, and in doing so, furthers the City’s commitment to re-framing the relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Kingston area residents. 

In addition to the northern lights installation, several Indigenous artists and storytellers across the province were commissioned to create complementary pieces. QR codes on each piece of art can be scanned to enjoy an audio recording or written transcript of the story that inspired the work. Read more on the installation in our previous coverage here.

Waawaateg’s opening ceremony is this Friday, Mar. 10 at 6:30 p.m. in Confederation Park. The ceremony is open to the public and the Downtown Kingston BIA said it will also feature Indigenous food and craft vendors. 

For more information on Tarniriik, visit click here.

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