Susan Aglukark is one of Canada’s most unique and most honored artists. An Inuk from Arviat, Nunavut, Susan has been walking in a tension between two worlds, a defining note in her remarkable career.
She was a rare and exotic presence in the mainstream music world—an Inuk woman, a modern woman, a strong woman with something important to say is sometimes very rare in the entertainment industry — Susan embodied pure, graceful honesty and strength. As her songs climbed the charts, her stories and her candor about the struggles of the Inuit and Aboriginal communities, and her bravery as she opened up about her own anger and struggle won her an audience beyond that of most pop artists.
Aglukark’s musical success is even more interesting when you realize she didn’t start her career until she was 24, with no modern musical orthodoxy to draw on Aglukark was free to respond to the sounds and styles that touched or motivated or inspired her. The (real) appeal of her music is that in an era where the most popular music is often less relevant than style or mood, her lyrics are where she lives. “The songs are driven by the stories. It’s all about the stories.”
As much as she writes and sings about her people, the songs Susan Aglukark creates have something in them that speaks to all of us, whether it’s the longing of a woman growing old for the traditional life that she was taken away from, (“Bridge of Dreams”) to an gentle anthem for peace and tolerance, (“O Siem”—joy in community), Aglukark’s artistic vision is ultimately a universal one.
Susan has held command performances for:
- HRH Queen Elizabeth (twice)
- Canadian Prime Ministers Jean Chrétien and Brian Mulroney
- President of France, Jacques Chirac.
- Nelson Mandela
- Governor General of Canada Adrienne Clarkson
- Her Excellency the Countess of Wessex
- Founder of the Arctic Rose Project
- Arctic Inspiration Prize Selection Committee
- Chair of Arctic Children and Youth Foundation (2008-2011)
- Board Member of National Aboriginal Literacy Foundation (2004-2007)
- Awarded the Governor Generals Order of Canada in 2005
- Awarded Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal February 2012
- Juno Awards (3)
- First-ever Aboriginal Achievement Award in Arts & Entertainment
- Canadian Country Music Association’s (CCMA) Vista Rising Star Award
- Native American Music Award
- Canadian Aboriginal Music Award
- Honorary Degrees in Law from the University of Alberta
- Honorary Degrees in Law from Calgary University
- Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts from the Lethbridge University
- Northerner of the Year – 1995