Nunavik’s 2013 Aqpik Jam means music and entertainment for Kuujjuaq
Festival wraps up Aug. 15 with return performance by famed entertainer André Philippe Gagnon
If you live in Kuujjuaq, you can look forward to an exciting five days packed with music, entertainment and activities as the Aqpik Jam festival gets underway Aug. 12.
And, if you don’t live in Kuujjuaq, you may wish to take advantage of the special air fares offered by First Air and Air Inuit to make it to the festival whose berry-themed logo honours the aqpik or cloudberry, now ripening around the Nunavik community.
Here’s what you can look forward to Aug. 12: from 7 p.m. to 11 p.m. at the Katittavik town hall auditorium, there’s non-stop entertainment, with the Kuujjuaq Youth Choir and Youth group, Lucy Johannes and the Kuujjuaq Band, hypnotist Alain Ferland, Iqaluit’s Jerry Cans and the Ottawa Valley Celtic band, the Searsons, who played in Kuujjuaq in 2011, Calvin Pameolik and the Jimmy Dogs.
Ferland promises to bring everyone in the audience to another place — such as Mars where volunteers from the audience could find themselves shooting invisible Martians using their own shoes as laser guns.
Ferland uses music and footage on a giant screen — and then hypnotizes participants on stage to live out what they see on the screen — such as sitting on a beach in Cuba, racing in Monte Carlo or white-water rafting on the Colorado river.
“They will lose their inhibitions and become fashion models and body builders before your very eyes,” Ferland promises.
But Ferland also says his performance “will never overstep the boundaries of good taste ensuring that the audience laughs with the participants, not at them.”
The entertainment continues Aug. 13 at the Katittavik hall with Peter Qumak, Sammy Adams Munick — the hilarious and talented winner of the recent “Kuujjuaq’s Got Talent” competition, Rosie and Liam, Nunavut’s Kelly Fraser, Saali, Bardefeu, Petrussen, Les Partenaires Blues and Kuujjuaq’s rock band, Angava.
Again on Aug. 14 you can see Munick as well as throat singers Evie and Akinisie, Tim and the Band, Pangnirtung accordionist (and bowhead whale captain) Simeonie Keenainak, accordionists Zebedee and Jeannie and, Lucassie and Dora, Nine O Five, Tuktukooq from Greenland and Okalik.
Aug. 15 brings dancer Kathia Wittenborn, Felix Tukkiapik, Leena Meetuq, Harry Alaasuak, Dida Heilmann of Greenland, Eric and Adamie, Eh440 — and André Philippe Gagnon.
Gagnon, who regularly has sold out shows in Las Vegas and around the world for 25 years, also appeared at the 2012 Aqpik Jam.
In 1985 Gagnon first acquired his international reputation, when, appearing for the first time at the Montreal Just for Laughs festival, he impersonated with accuracy every artist appearing in the song, “We are the World,” written by Michael Jackson and Lionel Richie.
Now called “the man of 400 voices,” who can impersonate numerous singers, including Tracy Chapman, Louis Armstrong, James Brown, members of The Rat Pack and Elton John, Gagnon has also performed for the royal families of England and Monaco.
There’s no charge for any of the Aqpik Jam festival events. These receive support from a variety of local businesses and organizations, which also donate impressive door prizes and awards to contest winners.
And all the events are “family friendly.”
Evening concerts are alcohol-free and start at 7 p.m. and finish at 11 p.m. so music lovers of all ages can attend.
Activities are also organized during the day. On Aug. 12 this means a lunch-hour bingo and target shooting from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. — the start of a day-time activities from Aug. 12 to Aug. 15, which also include aqpik picking, a cake decorating contest and canoe races as well as workshops in throatsinging, modern dance and art and painting for youth.
For more details on the Aqpik Jam program, consult its Facebook page, and look for photos of the festival on Nunatsiaqonline.ca and on its Facebook page.