Hailing from Igloolik, NU, singer-songwriter Terry Uyarak is a self-taught musician born and raised in a small and vibrant Inuit hamlet located in the Qikiqtaaluk region of northern Canada. Igloolik literally translates to English as ‘there is a house here,’ and is one of those special places in the Canadian Arctic where traditional Inuit language and culture are still strongly embedded into everyday life, with a strong sense of community within.
Terry Uyarak is no stranger to the tight-knit Nunavut music scene, having performed as an actor, juggler and musician for over a decade now, whilst also touring globally as a member of the only Inuit circus troupe in the world, ARTCIRQ. “Inuit Nunangat,” released just last Friday, is Terry’s first single for 2020, and one with a deeply personal tale that he is eager to share. “I decided to write Inuit Nunangat back in 2012 because I always wanted to write a song about our ancestors who were absolutely my heroes,” he offers. “For many, many generations, our knowledge kept evolving and still today we still know much about how beautiful our culture and language is. So for me, having much pride in our people is in the words of the song.”
Terry’s song writing is reflective of his experiences as a husband, father, and hunter, and his songs are interwoven with interludes of storytelling by Igloolik elder Simon Qamaniq – all of which provide a sense of the environment in which they belong to. “Our ancestors went through hard times / But we are still here,” he recites (translated from Inuktitut). “Thank you / We are here because of them.” “The land is our source and our being,” Terry adds. “The land has always been our trouble and our freedom. The land has been my ancestor’s stories and has become my story.” “Inuit, Land of the Inuit / There is nothing like our land / Inuit, Land of the Inuit / No other compares to ours.”