Toonik Tyme starts with a bang

Elisapee Davidee is honorary Toonik


Some 300 people gathered at Nakasuk School in Iqaluit this past Monday to witness opening ceremonies for Toonik Tyme 2004 and to view a fashion show.

Singer/songwriter Paul Irksuk traveled all the way from Arviat to belt out a few numbers, along with five family members who backed him up on guitar, keyboards and drums. The Irksuk Family Band opened with a song about elders, and closed with a ballad celebrating Toonik Tyme.

Sylvia Cloutier and Madeleine Allakariallak offered a spring throat-singing performance, with songs imitating mosquitos and birds. Allakariallak later returned to the stage to participate in her nine-year-old daughter Natasha’s debut throat singing performance. Joamie School principal David Serkoak followed with a drum dance.

Next was a gala fashion show put on by Qaggiq Productions, sponsored by the Government of Nunavut, and supported by a team of young, eager models who spent a week preparing for the show.

The clothes represented a clash of cultures — traditional Inuit styles meet modern international chic — and so did the show. Instead of walking the catwalk, models performed. Young girls danced in brightly coloured amautiit and kamiks. A drum dancer danced his way across the stage.

Vinnie Karetak, pantomimed a seal-hunt hunt, incorporating what looked like slow motion break-dancing moves into a performance that culminated in the killing of another model dressed as a seal — much to the delight of the many small children lining the stage. The entire show was set to music, including a live drummer.

Near the end of the evening, Iqaluit resident Elisapi Davidee was announced as the Honorary Toonik, 2004. Fittingly, it was also Davidee’s birthday.

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