Charlotte Qamaniq

Charlotte Qamaniq
Photo Jamie Griffiths


Charlotte Angugaattiaq Qamaniq is a performance artist from Iqlulik, NU, whose practice encompasses acting and katajjaq (Inuit throatsinging), skills with which she has over twenty years experience and a history performing nationally and internationally. Much of her practice centres on the relationship between Inuit, the Canadian government and general populace, examining the loss of parts of Inuit cultural heritage and the subsequent struggle by Inuit to regain independence in colonial institutions. This focus expands beyond her artistic work; Qamaniq has worked since 2015 with First Peoples Group to deliver cultural competency workshops and over the years has taught classes and workshops through different organizations that focus on Inuit culture and history.

Qamaniq began throatsinging at age 17 after moving to Ottawa, ON, learning her first songs from Inuit women in Ottawa like Tracy Sarazin, Lynda Brown, Kendra Tagoona and Emily Karpik. She had her first performance at 18 in Toronto, ON, during artist in residency program Tauqsijiit. “I practised continuously with Cynthia [Pitsiulak],” Qamaniq says, naming the singing partner she went on to form katajjaq duo Silla with. “Any tidbit of information we got we shared with each other and spent hours learning on our own together.” [1]

Over the course of her career Qamaniq has been part of several musical groups. She co-created Silla with Pitsiulak in 2005; named for the Inuktitut word Sila, the duo’s blend of traditional and contemporary katajjaq has been described as rhythmic, tonal and hypnotizing. Their debut album, Tumivut (2007), was nominated for a plethora of awards in 2009, including Best Female Cultural Recording at the Aboriginal Peoples Choice Music Awards, Best Album at the Native American Music Awards and Best Rap/Hip Hop CD at the Indigenous Music Awards. Pitsiulak and Qamaniq joined with DJ Rise Ashen in 2015 under the new name of Silla and Rise, adding electronic dance beats to their katajjaq sound. Their first album together, Debut (2016), was nominated for Indigenous Music Album of the Year at the 2017 Juno Awards, and their second album Galactic Gala (2019) was nominated for World Music Album of the Year at the 2020 Junos. Third album Silarjuaq was released in 2020. Silla and Rise won the Stingray Rising Stars Award in 2018 and two Summer Solstice Indigenous Music Awards in 2021 for Best Video of the Year and Inuit Group of the Year. In 2022 Qamaniq co-created another katajjaq group, Iva and Angu, this time with Kathleen Ivaluarjuk Merritt. The group takes its moniker from traditional Inuit names passed down to Qamaniq and Merritt, and focuses on producing traditional throat songs that have survived generations. Their first album together, Katajjausiit (2022), was nominated for Traditional Indigenous Artist Album of the Year at the 2023 Junos. “I'm a full-time artist and I love my career,” says Qamaniq. “I'll be releasing music for the rest of my life hopefully!”

In addition to the records produced with these groups, Qamaniq has also been featured on records by other artists, collaborating on the song “Black Leather” (2019) with Norway’s Eurovision finalists Keiino, working with Ottawa duo Twin Flames on multiple songs for their records Omen (2020) and Signal Fire (2017) and collaborating as part of Silla with Greenlandic singer Uyarakq on the single Amaroqk (2023). She made her stage debut in Qaggiavuut’s touring production of Kiviuq Returns (2018), and the following year took the stage as part of circus act Artcirq with the touring production of Unikkaaqtuat (2019). In 2023 she played one of the lead roles in sculptural theatre piece Qaumma, directed by Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory, and that same year she also appeared in her first TV role, a musical part on season four of True Detective: Night Country

Also in 2023, Qamaniq built a home studio where she and her partner are learning to produce and record their own work, with the aim of becoming more independent and spending more time at home making music rather than being on the road. She also hopes to work more with photos and videos to create digital art, and to continue collaborating with other artists. “Celebrating Inuit excellent is my ultimate goal,” she says about what’s to come.

This Profile was made possible through support from RBC Emerging Artists.

Artist Work

About Charlotte Qamaniq


Performing Arts

Artistic Community:

Ottawa, ON

Date of Birth:

Artists may have multiple birth years listed as a result of when and where they were born. For example, an artist born in the early twentieth century in a camp outside of a community centre may not know/have known their exact date of birth and identified different years.

Iglulik, NU