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Inuit Throat Singing

Inuit throat singing, or katajjaq, is a form of musical performance uniquely found among the Inuit. The Inuit performers are traditionally women who sing only duets (that means two people singing together) in a kind of entertaining contest to see who can outlast the other.  Usually, the song is over when the first person laughs. Most of the songs they sing are intended to mimic the sounds of native Alaskan animals.

Take a look at Throat Singers in the video on the right.

Now, let’s see if you can do something similar.  Find a partner to do the singing with, a friend or a sister, a brother, a parent or anyone will do. The only requirement is that the partner has to know the words to the song you choose to sing.

Next, get close to each other and grasp arms like the sisters in the video did.  

Then, start singing while you stare at each other. How long can you last? Remember, you win if the other person laughs before you do.

Alaskan Drumming

Drumming is a very important part of Native Alaskan music.  

Watch the video to get a taste of how it sounds when drummers from three different Native Alaskan groups get together and played their drums.

Think about how you can make a drum. What would you need? Take a look around the house and generate a list of ideas. Make a drum, or better yet make two drums and see if you can imitate the beats of the Alaskan drummers in the video.

Use the link below to guide you in making a homemade drum.

Tip:  You can get punch ball balloons at the dollar store!

What You Will Need:

  • Selection of Tin cans, storage containers or cake pan
  • Balloons, small average size for tin cans and a punch ball sized balloon for large items
  • Elastic bands or tape
  • Patterned tape and colored elastic bands for decoration (optional)


  • Make sure any tin cans are clean, dry, and free of any sharp edges.
  • For the small drum cut the top off the balloon and stretch it over the can.
  • Secure the balloon with an elastic band or tape.
  • For the storage container and cake pan, cut the top from one of the punch ball balloons.
  • If like my balloon you have a rather large tip (the bit where the elastic is attached) you will need to tie this off or you will end up with a large gaping hole in the middle of the drum.  To do this, cut the stronger rolled opening band off the piece of balloon you have just removed, and tightly knot it around the tip to tie it off.
  • Turn the balloon inside out and stretch it over the container or pan, and secure with an elastic band or tape.
  • Use patterned tape or elastic bands for decoration.
  • Take pictures of your homemade drums and place them in your folder.
Don’t forget to place this completed activity/product into the pocket of your white Journey into Reading envelope.

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