Over the past three years (from 2013 to 2015), the IGA has supported the revival of traditional Moravian music in the communities of the North Coast of Labrador – Nain, Hopedale, Makkovik, Postville and Rigolet.
With a generous grant from the Grenfell Association in each of these years, the Nunatsiavut Brass Band held its first workshop in August 2013 in Hopedale. For a full week more than two dozen aspiring brass band members from five Nunatsiavut communities worked with three facilitators provided by Memorial University. It was an inspiring experience for all involved. The closing night’s concert in Hopedale’s historic church became for the entire community a glimpse back into a deeply emotional part of their culture that was coming back to life. The momentum sailed forward and last Christmas brass bands sounded again in Hopedale, Makkovik and Nain for the first time in two decades. An on-line community and a Facebook page kept band members in touch and provided video-conferenced “tune-ups” for band members as the musically important season of Easter approached.
Building further on that momentum Tittulautet Nunatsiavuttini returned to IGA with a funding request for a second annual workshop which was held in Nain early in July of 2014. It was another huge success with both returning musicians and new ones joining the workshop. A particularly touching part of this year’s workshop were the home visits that the band undertook. Over a period of two days, the band visited the homes of twenty-seven elders in Nain, serenading them with the rich four-part harmonies of Jesus Tessiunga (Now Thank We All Our God) and other beloved hymns. As with the first workshop, the Nain-based OkâlaKatiget Society recorded many of the week’s activities and has been broadcasting the sounds of the new brass bands across Nunatsiavut. The OK Society also produced a two-part documentary video on the brass band revival which was to be aired nationally on the Aboriginal People’s Network (APN).
The IGA is very proud to have assisted with this cultural revival in Northern Labrador, and here’s to another successful project in 2015!