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Charlie  Panigoniak

Charlie  Panigoniak

Charlie  Panigoniak  (ᓵᓕ ᐸᓂᒍᓂᐊᖅ),  recipient of the Order of Nunavut, was a  groundbreaking  Inuk  guitarist/singer-songwriter/storyteller who many northerners consider to be “the father of  Inuktitut music.”  Born in a traditional camp  near Chesterfield Inlet  on the  western shores of Hudson Bay, Charlie  became  renowned for singing stories of northern life in his Inuktitut language to country  and  folk melodies. 

In his twenties, listening to the radio while recovering from tuberculosis in a Manitoba  sanatorium, Charlie was exposed to styles of music different from those of his up bringing  and  developed his unique sound bridging pre-colonial periods and recent times, cultures  and  languages.

Communities across the north have connected to Charlie’s music through  his storytelling and humour. His  personal songs and his Inuktitut covers of  main stream  classics caught the attention of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (CBC), leading to  numerous collaborations: recording with CBC Northern Service, performing on the True North (1981) television broadcast, and hosting a daily radio show.

“Ka  Matotc” (I miss my girlfriend), his bluesy-folksy single with a dramatic, spoken part  became a fan favourite, as is his Christmas cover “Rutami  tuktugaqalaunipuq” (Rudolph  the  Red-Nosed Reindeer), while collectively Charlie is remembered for lifting his peoples’ spirits  during a trying period of northern transition. 

Curator's Comments

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Speak Up! is curated by David McLeod (member of the Pine Creek First Nation, MB), Indigenous programming consultant.