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Qaujimavunga Kinaummangaarma – I know who I am: set of instrumental parts

Publisher: LAH Publications

Catalogue Number: 49-2

Year: 2017

For: SSA with Piano, Violin, Cello

Duration: 6:32

Commissioned by Nipiit Katittut Voices United and premiered in Iqaluit by the Cantiamo Girls Choir, Inuksuk Drum Dancers, and the Gryphon Trio with Mary Piercy-Lewis conducting. Looee Arreak and I began the creation of this work together over a few days of meetings in November 2016. After this, Looee created an original song in Inuktitut and then I transcribed and arranged it for choir and piano trio. The lyrics focus on inner strength and identity, and the title means “I know who I am.”

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The creation of this work began with a visit in Iqaluit during which Looee Arreak and I met several times to discuss the vision and intention behind this work. Through these conversations, I think Looee and I discovered that while we each bring our music to life in very different ways, the spirit behind it is something we share strongly. While visiting Iqaluit, I also had the opportunity to get a sense of the northern landscape, to appreciate the beauty and harshness of it, and to spend time with people there.

I learned a lot from my experience there, particularly in a moment on the second day of our visiting when Looee arrived and shared a musical phrase that had come to her that morning that she felt related to our ideas and would be part of our piece. It was, in fact, the “Aija” section – the “Aija” is a passage found frequently in Inuit music, and is a musical passage during which one reflects on the words that have been sung. Looee sang it to me that day and I jotted it down in my sketchbook. As a musician working in the oral tradition, she looked at my notated phrase and asked, “Is that my song?” In that moment, it became newly obvious to me how limited the written note is on the page. The four half notes I had jotted down in no way captured the expressive emotional nuance of what Looee sang to me moments earlier. This inspired me to find ways to incorporate improvisation and musical sharing into the piece.

After this visit, Looee created the words and music from the ideas and images we had developed together, and send me a recorded video of her performing it. I then transcribed this and arranged it for choir with piano trio.

I strongly encourage choirs to begin the learning of this piece with an oral tradition in mind. Begin with listening. Perhaps learn some by rote at first. The end of the piece lends itself well to audience participation and improvisation in the piano trio accompaniment, and I encourage ensembles to let the end be different each time and to come to a conclusion when it feels right.

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Looee Arreak

ᐃᓕᖅᑯᓯᕋ ᓯᕗᓕᓐᓂ ᐱᓯᒪᔭᕋ
ᓴᓐᖏᓂᖃᖅᐳᖓ ᐃᓐᓈᕈᖅᑎᑐᑦ
ᓂᑲᓇᕐᓂᖃᖅᓗᖓ ᖃᓐᓂᑎᑐ
ᐱᐅᓂᕋ ᓄᓇᖅᑦᑎᑐᑦ ᐊᐅᔭᒥ ᐆᒪᕗᖅ
ᓯᕿᓐᓂᕐᓂᖃᕐᒪ ᐃᓗᓐᓂ ᑕᑐᒥ ᐃᓅᔪᓇᑐᒥ

ᑲᔪᓰᓇᖅᐳᖓ ᐊᓯᔾᔨᐸᓪᓕᐊᕗᖓ ᓄᖅᑲᖓᑎᑕᐅᓇᖓ ᑰᑎᑐᑦ
ᖃᐅᔨᒪᕗᖓ ᑭᓇᐅᒻᒪᖔᕐᒪ

ᓇᓗᓇᖅᐳᖓ ᐊᖅᓴᕐᓂᖅᑐᑎᑐᑦ ᐅᓄᐊᒥ
ᐊᑦᑕᓇᖅᑐᕗᖓ ᓯᑯᑎᑐᑦ ᐊᐅᓕᖅᑐᒥ ᐅᐱᕐᖔᒥ
ᐆᒪᑎᒐ ᑎᓪᓕᖅᐳᖅ ᐊᓐᓇᐅᒪᓂᕐᒥᒃ
ᐃᓇᐃᑦ ᐅᓃᖄᖏᑦ ᑐᓵᓕᕋᒃᑭᑦ ᒪᑭᒪᓂᕐᒥ

ᓯᓚᑐᓂᖃᖅᐳᖓ ᐃᓄᔅᓱᒃᑎᑐᑦ ᓂᐱᑭᑦᑐᒥᒃ
ᑕᓯᐅᖅᓯᔪᒥ ᐆᒪᓇᑐᒧ ᓯᕗᓕᒪ ᐱᖃᕐᕕᖓᓄ
ᑐᑭᓯᐊᕙᑲ ᐅᓪᓗᕆᐊᑦ ᓄᕗᔭᐃᓪᓗ
ᐊᐳᑏᓪᓗ ᐅᖃᐅᓯᖏ ᐅᖃᓕᒫᕈᓐᓇᑕᒃᖃ
ᑕᑯᕙᒋᑦ ᑕᑯᕙᓐᖓ ᑕᕐᕋᑐᑎᒌᐳᒍᒃ
ᐃᒪᕐᒥ ᐅᖅᓱᐊᖅᑐᒥ ᐊᔾᔨᒌᑉᐳᒍᒃ

Roman orthography:

Aijaijaija Aijaijaija Aijaijaija Aijaijaija

Iliqqusira sivulinni pisimajara
Sannginiqaqpunga innaaruqtitut
Nikanarniqarlunga qannititut
Piunira nunaraqitut aujami uumavuq
Siqinnirniqarmat ilunni taaqtumi uumajunnaqtumik

Kajusiinnaqpunga asijjipalliavunga nuqqangatitaunanga kuuttitut
Qaujimavunga kinaummangaarma

Nalunaqpunga aqsarniqtitut uunnuami
Attanaqtuuvunga sikutitut auliqtumi upirngaami
Uummatiga tilliqpuq annaumanirmik
Innait unikkaangit tusaalirakkit makimanirmik

Silatuniqaqpunga inuksuttitut nipikittumik
Tasiuqsijumik uumanaqtumut sivulirma piqarvinganut
Tukisiavakka ulluriat nuvujaillu
Aputiullu piusingit uqalimaarunnatakka

Aijaijaija Aijaijaija Aijaijaija Aijaijaija


I received this gift of life from my ancestors
I have gained strength like the cliffs of the mountains
and get sensitive like the snowflakes

I have beauty like the wildflowers
and there is warmth in my heart like the midnight sun

And life goes on, it turns and changes, nothing stops me, like the river
I know who I am

Life gets complicated like the northern lights
and can be dangerous as the melting of the ice

I hear survival in my heartbeat as the Elders tell their stories
I recognize them in the wind and snow, I meet them in the danger zone

the Inuksuk leads me to where there is life

I see you, you see me we are a mirror
looking into the calm glass ocean

when I’m lost I look up at the stars, the same stars you see

the land you walk on is also my land
the air you breathe is the same air that gives me life