Susan Aglukark likes Christmas. As a Inuk child growing up in Arviat, Nunavut she remembers it as a time when the community came together to sing carols and feast on caribou. As a singer and performer, Aglukark regularly tours a Christmas show and has released two Christmas albums. So it's only fitting that she has recorded our first all-Christmas My Playlist.
Aglukark didn’t start her music career until she was 24-years-old and in Arviat, Nunavut, Aglukark received no modern musical training either. Instead, Aglukark drew inspiration from where she lives and her songs are driven by the stories and people she encountered growing up in Canada’s far north. She doesn’t shy away from the hard subjects either like suicide, abuse and the loss of a traditional way of life.
Aglukark bridges her traditional upbringing with a modern sensibility, resulting in music with a universal appeal. Her breakthrough single, “O Siem” was sung in both English and Inuktitut and it hit the top of the charts. That was just the beginning for Aglukark.
Over the past two decades, she has continued to record, tour and speak to the issues affecting Aboriginal and Inuit people. Aglukark has released nine albums; won three Junos and the first-ever Aboriginal Achievement Award in Arts. She holds a number of honourary degrees, has performed in front of Queen Elizabeth (twice), Neilson Mandela and two prime ministers – so far. Aglukark is also a member of the Order of Canada.
In 2008, Aglukark spent three years as a Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the University of Alberta. There, she developed programs to address the school dropout issue among Aboriginal students. Since that time, Aglukark has created a university course to help keep the creative spirit alive in music and the arts.
On this special edition of My Playlist, Aglukark shares her favourite Christmas songs and the stories behind her selections.
On this special edition of My Playlist, Susan Aglukark shares her favourite Christmas songs and the stories behind her selections