Susan Aglukark at Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, June 2007
27 January 1967 |
Churchill, Manitoba, Canada
Susan Aglukark, OC (Inuktitut syllabics: ᓲᓴᓐ ᐊᒡᓘᒃᑲᖅ suusan agluukkaq), (born 27 January 1967) is an Inuk musician whose blend of Inuit folk music traditions with country and pop songwriting has made her a major recording star in Canada. Her most successful single is "O Siem", which reached No. 1 on the Canadian country and adult contemporary charts in 1995. Overall, she has released seven studio albums and has won three Juno Awards.
Aglukark was born in Churchill, Manitoba and raised in Arviat, Northwest Territories (now in Nunavut). After graduating from high school, she worked in Ottawa, Ontario as a linguist with the Department of Indian & Northern Affairs, and then returned to the Northwest Territories to work as an executive assistant with the Inuit Tapirisat of Canada.
While working with the Inuit Tapirisat, she began to perform as a singer, and quickly became a popular performer in Inuit communities. She soon attracted the attention of the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, who included her in a compilation of Arctic performers. In 1992, she released an independent album, Arctic Rose. The following year, she signed to a major record label, releasing an album of Christmas music that year.
Aglukark has also acted as spokesperson for several non-profit groups working with aboriginal and Inuit youth, and has said that while she is proud to be a role model for aboriginal people in Canada, she ultimately sees herself as an artist with a universal message of self-respect and strength to which she hopes that people of all cultural backgrounds can relate.
This Child, released in 1995, became her breakthrough album. The first single from that album, "O Siem", went to number one on the Canadian adult contemporary and country charts that year, making Aglukark the first Inuk performer to have a Top 40 hit. "Hina Na Ho (Celebration)" and "Breakin' Down" became hit singles as well. The album was eventually certified triple platinum (300,000 copies sold) in Canada.
In 2000, Aglukark released Unsung Heroes, which spawned another pop hit with "One Turn Deserves Another." This album also included "Turn of the Century," a song about the creation of Nunavut. In 2004, she released Big Feeling.
She sometimes deals with painful subjects in her songs. "Kathy" is about her niece who committed suicide, and "Still Running" is about the trauma of sexual abuse. Aglukark has also recorded a version of "Amazing Grace" in Inuktitut.
Her song "Never Be the Same" was featured on Dawson's Creek in Episode No. 3–14 ("Valentine's Day Massacre"), as well as her song "One Turn Deserves Another" in Episode No. 3–15 ("Crime And Punishment").
Aglukark's second holiday album, Dreaming of Home, was released on 5 November 2013.
Awards and recognition
In 2004, Aglukark was awarded an honorary DFA from the University of Lethbridge. She was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2005, and in the same year received an honorary LL.D. degree from the University of Alberta. In the summer of 2006, she performed nightly in the evening grandstand show at the Calgary Stampede.
- 1995: winner, Juno Awards for Best New Solo Artist and Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording, Arctic Rose
- 1996: nominee, Juno Awards for Best Female Vocalist, Best Album (This Child), Single of the Year ("O Siem"), Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording (This Child), Best Video ("O Siem")
- 2001: nominee, Juno Award for Best Music of Aboriginal Canada Recording, Unsung Heroes
- 2004: winner, Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording, Big Feeling
- 2004: appointed Officer of the Order of Canada
- 2007: nominee, Juno Award for Aboriginal Recording of the Year, Blood Red Earth
- 2008: appointed as Distinguished Scholar in Residence at the University of Alberta
- 2016: Governor General's Performing Arts Awards - Lifetime Artistic Achievement
|Title||Album details||Peak chart
|Dreams for You||
|Blood Red Earth||
|Dreaming of Home||
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
|Year||Title||Peak chart positions||Album|
|CAN Country||CAN AC||CAN|
|1990||"Searching"||—||—||—||Dreams for You|
|1993||"Little Toy Trains"||—||—||—||Christmas|
|1994||"Song of the Land"||31||4||55||Arctic Rose|
|1995||"O Siem"||1||1||3||This Child|
|"Hina Na Ho (Celebration)"||19||3||30|
|"Suffer in Silence"||—||—||—|
|1999||"One Turn Deserves Another"||—||19||—||Unsung Heroes|
|2000||"Turn of the Century"||—||55||—|
|2004||"Whaler's Lullaby"||—||—||—||Big Feeling|
|2006||"I Will Return"||—||—||—||Blood Red Earth|
|"—" denotes releases that did not chart|
- Music of Canada
- Aboriginal music of Canada
- Notable Aboriginal people of Canada
- List of Canadian musicians
- Famous Canadian Women ISBN 978-0-9736246-0-1
- "Biography: Susan Aglukark – A Leading Voice in Canadian Music". First Nations Drum. Retrieved 3 October 2009.
- "Susan Aglukark – A Leading Voice in Canadian Music". First Nations Drum. Archived from the original on 10 January 2008. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
- Famous Female Musicians Gr. 4-8, Ruth Solski, On The Mark Press, 2009, ISBN 978-1-55495-024-9
- "Susan Aglukark Biography". shopEMI. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
- "Juno Awards Artist Summary – Susan Aglukark". Juno Awards. Canadian Academy of Recording Arts and Sciences. Archived from the original on 11 June 2009. Retrieved 9 September 2008.
- Order of Canada citation
- "Aglukark to mentor aboriginal students at University of Alberta". CBC News (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation). 3 June 2008. Retrieved 10 September 2008.
- Governor General's Performing Arts Awards
- "Canadian album certifications – Susan Aglukark – This Child". Music Canada.