When Moravian missionaries arrived in Labrador in the 1700s, they didn’t just bring religion to the Inuit in the area, they brought the music of Mozart, Handel and other German composers, translated it into Inuktitut, and started a musical cultural tradition that has survived for centuries. Over the centuries,the Inuit of Labrador have made the music their own, making choral music an important part of the communities of northern Labrador.
Dr. Tom Gordon, professor emeritus of the School of Music at Memorial University has uncovered original handwritten scores from churches in Nain, Hopedale and Makkovik. Some songs are still sung regularly, while other pieces haven’t been performed in decades. Lady Cove Women’s Choir teamed up with the Newfoundland Symphony Orchestra Sinfonia and Newman Sound Men’s Choir to give audiences a chance to experience this unique part of Labrador Inuit concert. Featuring Deantha Edmunds, a classically trained Inuk soprano, and paying tribute to the memory of Karrie Obed, the tradition–bearer and lead tenor of the Nain church choir, we were privileged to have the opportunity to honour the traditions of our northern neighbors in this culturally enriching experience.