Frederic Laugrand: The “Eye of the Drum.” Past and Present of qilaujjarniq in the Canadian Central Arctic (Nunavut)


Today, the art of drum dancing is reviving in Nunavut. Drawing on various ethnographical experiences with a group of elders, this article approaches qilaujjarniq, drum dancing accompanied by people singing, putting forward not the audio but the visual code. I argue that the drum allows the drummer to see the deceased, this connection being strengthened by the pisiit (songs), which can bring the drummer to a state of joy as he reached another dimension in time and space. Finally, drum dancing offers a suitable context for the performer to express his personal style, which contributes to maintain the great variety of drumming traditions.

[Inuit, drum, deceased, cosmology, songs, visual]