Iqaluit’s community radio celebrates launch with Nov. 23 circumpolar dance
"We are a community radio so we belong to the community"
Come and party tonight at Iqaluit’s Francophone Association centre: on Nov. 23, from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m., its community radio station, CFRT 107. 3 FM, launches its packed schedule of radio programs, and then, later in the evening, CFRT hosts a circumpolar music dance, DJ’d by Iqaluit music buff Stéphane Cloutier, also known as Qupanuaq.
After a hiatus of more than a year, CFRT is now back on the air with a 24-7 schedule of radio programs, planned and hosted by volunteers, said station manager Pascal Auger, who has spent the past year getting the station back on its feet.
There’s something for every musical taste, he said: the all-night “La Nuit de Nunavut” (Nunavut Night) show for night owls, as well as programs devoted to country music, jazz and circumpolar music. CFRT’s schedule also includes daily morning and evening programs during the week, which are hosted by Auger.
While you’re more likely to hear French on CFRT, because it’s French-language radio station, serving the hundreds of French-speakers in Iqaluit, it’s also a community radio station, Auger said.
“Yes, it’s a French-language radio station, but we want to get involved with everyone in the community, with programs that connect everyone in the community, either in French, Inuktitut or English. We are a community radio, so we belong to the community,” he said.
A good example: the weekly radio program Ukiuqtaqtuq, “Parce que mon pays, c’est l’hiver,” which airs on Tuesdays from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m and is hosted by Cloutier, with his son Xavier.
“I wanted to pass my passion for radio and music,” said Cloutier — to his son and to others who tune in to the program.
With the program’s patter in French, Inuktitut and English from trilingual Cloutier, everyone in Iqaluit can follow the program.
And because you can also hear CFRT online, you can listen to the Ukiutaqtuq anywhere in Nunavut, in Nunavik or around the world on ustream.tv/channel/cfrt1073fm.
On this past week’s Ukiutaqtuq, you could hear the Trade-offs, Aaju Peter, Rikka M. Egede, Artcirq, Illu Rappers, Anguigaq, Charlie Adams, Charlie Ningiuk, Beatrice Deer, D-Drive, Nanu Disco, Charlie Panigoniak, William Tagoona and Tupaarnaq.
If some of these names are unfamiliar, don’t worry. Cloutier shares his knowledge about circumpolar music as he plays the songs. Or you can prepare beforehand by going to Cloutier’s circumpolar music blog to read up on circumpolar musical groups or listen to video clips that he’s posted there.
“What’s fun is that I find things here and there. I do lots of research,” Cloutier said. “And you find lots of talent around the circumpolar world.”
That’s talent which many in Canada’s North aren’t familiar with, he said.
For example, you might not know about Nanook, a Greenlandic band featured in a recent Ukiutaqtuq program, whose last album sold 10,000 copies in Greenland, which has a total population of about 55,000. That’s one album sold for every five people in the island, Cloutier pointed out.
In a recent program devoted to Nanook, Cloutier and son Xavier played the band’s first best-selling single “Seqinitta Qinngorpaatit.”
“Everyone loves them whether they’re here or there,” Cloutier said about Nanook.
If you tune in next Tuesday to Ukiutaqtuq, you can hear Frozen Whitefish, a Bethel-based Alaskan Yup’ik rock band. All its lyrics are written in the Yup’ik Inuit language.
This group formed after the 2010 Inuit Circumpolar Council assembly in Nuuk, where the Alaskan musicians experienced Nuuk’s lively music scene, where you can hear live music played nightly in the city bars and halls, Cloutier said.
Here you can listen to Frozen Whitefish play their song, Maani Alaskami, at the 2011 Alaska State Fair.
And if this music makes you want to dance, head to the Francophone centre, at Bldg. 981, on Nov.23 to hear more music from around the circumpolar world.