Who knew that Monday morning would usher in yet another arctic anomaly? I certainly had no clue! As you can probably imagine, unexpected changes in daily routine often present more than a few challenges within a classroom. I'm not big on surprises when it comes to keeping my kids on track. However, this departure from the typically lockstep morning schedule proved to be a rabbit worth chasing.
With a name like Pamyua (pronounced BUM-yo-ah) you'd think this would have something to do with Inupiat culture or language, right? Well, almost. Pamyua is actually the name of a Nordic indigenous band originally formed by two brothers, Stephen and Phillip Blanchett, who are of Yup'ik Eskimo and African American decent. Sound like an interesting combination? Just wait. It gets better! The female vocalist of the group is a Greenlandic Inuit and Pamyua's musical style is largely inspired by gospel, R & B, funk, and jazz! Whew! While that may sound a bit schizophrenic, it was actually lots of fun.
In 2003, Pamyua was chosen to represent Native American music at the 45th Annual Grammy Awards. Following that performance, their third album, Caught in the Act, won Record of the Year at the Native American Music Awards! And here they were...performing in our little school...in the middle of the arctic tundra!
Lead vocalists are (from left) Ossie Kairaiuak, Stephen Blanchett, Karina Moeller, and Phillip Blanchett.
Phillip Blanchett dances a traditional Yup'ik Eskimo dance...very expressive and comical! The drums being played by Ossie and Stephen are identical, as far as I can tell, to drums used by Inupiat Eskimo culture. The only difference is that Yup'ik Eskimos beat the top of the drum while Inupiats hit the skin from underneath.
At first, I think the kids were basically stunned. Their faces tell the story better than I ever could.
But it didn't take long before the music found its way into their souls...or at least their arms...and they were fearlessly swaying and clapping and laughing. It was truly a beautiful thing.
If your curiosity is stronger than your aversion to download time...take a quick peek at Pamyua...during their limited (Monday morning) engagement at the Arctic Cotton Club. :)
3 years ago