Throat-singing through the generations


From Baker Lake Nunavut, 6 Year-old Nevaeh loves to throat-sing with her 90 year-old Anaanatsia (grandmother).

Her grandmother Winnie Putumiraqtuq was born in 1931 near Garry Lake, and was later relocated to Baker Lake, Nunavut.

Throat singing is a popular traditional vocal game, usually performed between two-women.

Colonial Christian missionaries banned Inuit vocal games because they were thought to perpetuate non-Christian, non-white cultural practices.  A resurgence of the vocal games began in the 1980s among both elders and youth.

Nevaeh began to learn to throat-sing when she saw her Anaanatsia sing on television when she was 4 years-old.

Nevaeh’s father Joseph shares that he and his late wife gave Nevaeh the same Inuktitut name as Winnie, Tadja.

“She is starting to forget a lot of the past, how she grew up.  She’s very happy Nevaeh is learning to throat-sing, they are very close to each other.” Joseph shares that her grandmother is Nevaeh’s favourite person.

Nevaeh says there’s some hard parts of throat-singing, but she loves to practice and laugh with her Anaanatsia.

“My mother is so happy to be able to teach Nevaeh to throat-sing,” Joseph shares.