Gingger Shankar’s New Single Merges Inuit Throat Singing With Indian Classical Music

Gingger Shankar’s New Single Merges Inuit Throat Singing With Indian Classical Music

Nature serves as the foundational inspiration for both Inuit throat singing and Indian classical ragas, reflecting a deep reverence for the natural world in musical expression. Inuit throat singing, known as Katajjaq, intricately weaves the sounds of nature into its rhythmic patterns, echoing the flow of water in rivers and the rhythmic panting of sled dogs. This ancient tradition encapsulates ancestral experiences and the essence of the Arctic landscape, creating melodic narratives steeped in the rhythms of life. Similarly, Indian classical ragas, like Basant and Bahar, are imbued with the essence of changing seasons and the vibrant colours of spring. These ragas, adorned with delicate notes and intricate ornamentations, evoke the rejuvenating spirit of nature, echoing the blooming flowers, melodious bird songs, and the gentle warmth of sunlight. Both traditions serve as musical conduits that transport listeners into the heart of nature's splendor, inviting them to immerse in melodies that harmonize with the rhythms of the natural world.

The two musical traditions come together in a new collaborative track, Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean Gingger Shankar, renowned for her mastery of the rare double violin and acclaimed film composing endeavours, infuses the track with her signature blend of classical Indian and contemporary influences. Charlotte Qamaniq, a member of the Juno Award-nominated band Silla and Rise, lends her mesmerizing throat singing, enriching the composition with her unique cultural heritage.

The track is a profound narrative woven around the Inuit legend of Sedna, the sea goddess. Qamaniq, drawing from her upbringing immersed in Inuit traditions, shares the tale of Sedna, a powerful deity betrayed by her father and transformed into the guardian of the sea. This narrative of environmental stewardship and the consequences of neglecting our natural world resonates deeply, especially on Earth Day, urging listeners to reflect on their relationship with the environment.

"She lives at the bottom of the ocean with extremely long hair. She was betrayed by her father and thrown into the sea to die. This act of betrayal turned her powerful and she became the mother of all beings in the sea. She is who we pay respects to, she controls the weather and monitors our behavior. If we displease her, she grows angry and will keep game animals in her hair to cause bad hunting. All she wanted was the love and protection of her father, and she continues to want love between all humans but has the wrath of the most powerful storm. I think of her when we disrespect the environment; it would be fitting to make an ode to her on Earth Day."
Charlotte Qamaniq

The track's instrumentation is sparse yet profoundly evocative, consisting solely of Shankar and Qamaniq's voices spanning a wide vocal range. Shankar incorporates svaras, Sanskrit musical notes representing various animals, intertwining peacocks, herons, and elephants into the melodic fabric. In contrast, Qamaniq's throat songs emulate the sounds of nature, from seagulls and geese to the wind and the river, crafting an immersive sonic landscape that mirrors the beauty and complexity of the natural world.

Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean transcends cultural boundaries, seamlessly melding Indian and Inuit musical traditions through animal calls and vocal orchestrations. The collaboration's significance extends beyond musical innovation, embodying a celebration of cultural diversity and a poignant reminder of our interconnectedness with nature.

Gingger Shankar articulates the project's essence, emphasizing its role in preserving cultural heritage and fostering a deeper understanding of environmental conservation. The accompanying short film, directed by shadow puppet artist Maisie O’Brien and produced by Little Indian Girl Collective, promises to further enhance the narrative, offering a visual counterpart to the ethereal soundscape crafted by Shankar and Qamaniq.

As the world commemorated Earth Day not too long ago, Ever So Lonely/Eyes/Ocean stands as a testament to the power of artistic collaboration in championing environmental consciousness and celebrating the splendour of our planet. Available on all major music platforms, this innovative musical journey invites listeners to embark on a soul-stirring voyage that transcends genres and borders, resonating with both music enthusiasts and advocates for environmental sustainability.

Listen to the track below.