Explore a variety of STEAM activities with Brainspace in honour of National STEAM Day on November 8th!
Join us to celebrate 5 days of STEAM with tons of STEAM activities each of the five days this week! View all our blogs for this week here:
Day 4: Art (3 articles/activities)
Inuit Throat Singing
Two Inuit women stand very close together, holding each other’s ar,s. One begins, laying down the pattern and rhythm, using the sounds of both her exhaled and inhaled breath and leaving bits of silence between the repetition of the pattern. Her partner follows, filling in those spaces, matching both the song itself and the timing.
This is Inuit throat-singing, and it is traditionally performed as a friendly game or competition between women: whoever breaks rhythm, runs out of breath, or bursts out laughing first is the loser. These throat songs often mimic sounds from the natural world and daily life: wind blowing over the tundra, animal calls, or the sounds of chores like cleaning sled runners.
Scan this image below using the Zappar app:
Throat singing on the world stage
Today’s Inuit musicians are bringing throat singing into contemporary music in exciting ways.
Iva is an Inuit throat singer, poet, and collaborating artist from Rankin Inlet, Nunavut who has performed across Canada and around the world. She says, “Throat singing is so rhythmic, and sometimes melodic, which makes it simple to collaborate with other forms of music. I’ve performed throat singing in collaboration with Hip Hop/beatboxing, with an orchestra, with a didgeridoo player, and with as many as six throat singers together.” In her own music, Ive (her stage name is a shortened form of her Inuit name, Ivaluarjuk) often combines throat singing with her spoken word poetry and with folk music: “A sound inspired by both my Inuit and Irish heritage.”
Funnily enough, it wasn’t in Nunavut but Ottawa that Iva first learned to throat sing. “I was in a college program for Nunavut Inuit students that included learning and performing cultural song and dance. I fell in love with the sound and laughter [of throat singing] and wanted to learn everything I possibly could. At the time, I spoke almost no Inuktitut (the Inuit language) so I really think throat singing was a way for me to hold onto where I come from.”
And that’s important to Iva who, despite a busy travel schedule, still makes her home in Rankin Inlet. “It’s what fuels me. After a long trip, coming home to family, crisp Arctic air, the peaceful movement of time and small-town community togetherness is huge for my recovery and re-energizing. I know you can feel my love for home in my music.”
Marble Paper Cards
These cards make great gifts for holidays, birthdays, valentine’s day, and more. coordinate colours to match the theme of the card’s purpose (e.g. use pink, purple, and red for valentine’s day).
- Shaving foam
- Shallow dish such as a baking dish
- Food colouring (2 or more colours)
- Skewers, chopsticks, popscicle sticks etc. for strirring
- Thick paper or poster board
- Piece of cardstock or art paper Scrap cardstock
1. Spray a layer of shaving foam to cover the bottom of the shallow dish.
2. Drop liquid food colouring on top of the shaving foam. Repeat this step for all of your desired colours.
3. Use the stir stick to swirl the food colouring into the shaving foam creating a marble effect.
4. Lay your piece of cardstock onto the coloured foam mixture. Lift it and use the piece of scrap cardstock to scrape away the excess foam. Let dry.
5. Continue to make additional cards by adding more foam and food colouring as needed.
- 1 cup plaster of Paris powder
- 1/3 cup water
- mixing bowl and spoon
- silicone mould (from any craft store – coaster shape)
- waterproof sealant (rubber cement, mod podge)
- paint and paint brush
- Cover your work surface using parchment paper, a garbage bag, or newspaper.
- Measure out 1 cup of plaster of Paris powder. Add the plaster of Paris powder to the mixing bowl and mix in 1/3 cup of water. Stir until combined and smooth.
- Spoon mixture into silicone mould. Tap the filled mould on the counter until all air bubbles seem to be released. This step also ensures that the mixture gets spread out evenly into all crevices of the mould. Repeat this step with multiple moulds if you have them. We used a large circle coaster and a small circle coaster mould.
- Let the mixture set until firm. This could take anywhere between 1 to 3 hours, depending on your environment.
- Once the mixture has hardened, release the casting out of the mould.