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First time onstage in Kuujjuaq

Rankin Inlet’s own Sam Tutanuak brought his sound from the Kivalliq to the Aqpik Jam Music Festival at the Kuujjuaq Forum in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, from Aug. 12 to 15.

This year’s festival included an impressive scheduled musical lineup that included: Tutanuak; Aasiva; Alan Doyle; Derek Miller; Green River; Saali; Sinuupa; Naneruaq; Cops and Pilots; and Barbara Diab and the Smoked Meat Band.

Sam Tutanuak, front left, of Rankin Inlet poses with fellow performers Alan Doyle, front middle, and Pat McLaughlin, and , back from left, Matthew Chaffey, Andrew McCarthy and Kaylen Prescott during the Aqpik Jam Music Festival at the Kuujjuaq Forum in Kuujjuaq, Nunavik, from Aug. 12 to 15. Photo courtesy of Sam Tutanuak

Also there were: Lucy Johannes and the Kuujjuaq Band; Josh Q and the Trade-Offs; Eli Angiju; Angava; Souled; Jack Etok and the Beanstocks; and William Tagoona of Baker Lake.

Tutanuak said it was a very pleasant surprise when he found out in early June that he’d be performing at the Aqpik Jam.

He said it was his first time to perform at the event, which he deemed a lot of fun.

“The arena was packed during the entire festival from what I saw,” said Tutanuak.

“I was backed on stage by fellow musicians Matthew Chaffey, Andrew McCarthy and Pat McLaughlin for my hour-long set, which went really well.

“We performed 11 songs and the audience’s reaction to my songs was wicked.

“They recognized at least five or six of my songs – which was very touching – and there was a real pump from the crowd when we went into The Three Musicians, which was a hit for me on Aboriginal Radio.”

Tutanuak said the trip to Kuujjuaq for the Aqpik Jam was something he’ll cherish for a long time.

He said the festival was extremely well organized and everything went as smoothly as you could possibly hope for.

“We got picked-up anytime we needed a ride, and the sound checks were just awesome,” he said.

“Everything was first class all the way.

“The consensus following my performance seemed to indicate I’ll be getting a repeat invitation to next year’s festival, which would make me quite happy.”

Tutanuak said it would be awesome to see a music festival of the Aqpik Jam’s scale started in Rankin Inlet.

He said it would be a boost for the community, itself, as well as for performers from across the Kivalliq.

“Oh man, if Rankin could host something similar to the Aaqpik Jam Musical Festival it would really help boost the region’s music scene.

“The variety of musical styles among the performers at the Aqpik Jam was just awesome – from rap, rock and blues to traditional – and I think that approach would go over very well in Rankin too.”