Uummannaq Music


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Uummannaq Music is the world's northernmost music platform on sea ice. It started as an ongoing music festival at Uummannaq Children’s Home—the world’s northernmost orphanage, also known as the Ice School, and quickly evolved into an established collaboration among an international community of artists, musicians, and music conservatory professors on one side, and local communities of hunters and fishermen across Greenland, Alaska, Canada, and Northern Siberia on the other hand. Uummannaq, a little island in Northern Greenland located 590 km above the Arctic Circle, is accessible only in “good weather.” Yet because of the Internet and new-media technologies including Facebook, Twitter, Flickr, and Youtube, Uummannaq Music has been able to bridge the island’s geographic isolation and secure a steady connection between residents and their counterparts in the rest of the world. Uummannaq Music’s mission is to bring a love for music to Inuit children who face formidable environmental and social challenges. The orphanage lies far away from the world of music conservatories, symphony orchestras, and concert halls. Through social networking, Uummannaq Music is bringing world-renowned musicians from Germany, Venezuela, the USA, Russia, and elsewhere to the harsh permafrost of Uummannaq Island where they perform for and work with the children. Uummannaq Music stands on four pillars: teaching, creating, performing, and preserving. Students and teachers make spontaneous music together using whatever materials are available, including acoustic and electronic instruments as well as natural materials like wood, bone, skins, snow, and ice. Preservation of the old traditions of Eskimo music, dance, and storytelling culture in these times of climate and societal change is strongly emphasized. The first production of Uummannaq Music was “The Arctic Ballet,” based on old Inuit myths and performed by the young students of Uummannaq Music on the sea ice of Uummannaq Bay. The performance received an equal boost from the local hunters in Uummananq and professional contributors based in 15 countries from France to Japan. The second project was the Month of Kyrgyz Art, Music, and Culture in Uummannaq in 2010. The international founders of Uummannaq Music experienced the recent political revolution in Kyrgyztan while working there on projects related to democracy and culture, and subsequently brought Kyrgyz arts from the steppe to the Arctic. The monthlong series of activities was closely followed in Central Asia via social media on the Internet, receiving overwhelming acclaim there and promoting the values of dog-sledding culture values in the wider world. Members of the governments of both Greenland and Kyrgyzstan have now joined Uummannaq Music and are following its ongoing cultural initiatives with interest via social networking media. www.uummannaqmusic.comSee more


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