Hitmakerz to Release Ajungi Album November 22, 2019
AJUNGI – pronounced AH-YUNG-EE – is a Nunavut-based music collective made up of up-and-coming artists from across the territory. The concept was created by artist and entrepreneur Thor Simonsen, Creative Director of Hitmakerz, an Iqaluit-based record label that delivers music workshops to remote communities across Nunavut, and records, produces, and releases music by many Inuit artists. Since most of the 12 songs on the Ajungi album include issues of mental health, a portion of album sales will be donated to the Kamatsiaqtut Nunavut Helpline (867-979-3333).
“The inspiration behind the project is the fact that there are so many talented singers and songwriters in Nunavut, but unfortunately, due to lack of equipment and know-how, as well as the extremely prohibitive cost of travel, it is almost impossible for these artists to ever be heard outside of their communities,” says Simonsen. “Ajungi is a way to show the world that Nunavut is a hotbed of musical passion and creativity.”
Hitmakerz hosts various music education workshops across the territory, including Nunavut Hitmakerz and Uke’cray. These workshops provide inspiration, joy, and musical training, taught by Inuit artists such as Kelly Fraser, Angela Amarualik, and Aasiva. They also provide equipment such as music recording studios and instruments. To date, the team has traveled to 12 communities, with another 12 planned for next year.
Artists are often “discovered” during these workshops and signed to the label. Several artists have attended the workshops, worked with Hitmakerz to build a music career, and then returned to teach the workshops to the next generation of young artists.
The album features 19 Nunavut artists, artistically sharing their stories and cultures with the rest of the world. It will be released worldwide on November 22, with pre-orders available on November 5. “One of our goals is to create economic opportunities and help raise the quality of life for all Nunavummiut through music,” Simonsen explains. “This is a very pressing issue, since the cost of living is much higher here than in other parts of Canada, and four in ten Nunavummiut are currently on some form of government assistance.”
All songs were written and performed by the artists and produced by Simonsen. Bardur Háberg, a music producer from the Faroe Islands, provided additional production and mastering for the album. *Stay tuned for Ajungi artist announcements and spotlights.
Funding for the album was provided by the Government of Nunavut (Department of Economic Development and Transportation) as well as the Qikiqtani Inuit Association.
Hitmakerz is a full-service record label based in Iqaluit, Nunavut. We specialize in the creation and marketing of world-class Inuit and Indigenous music. Our mission is to help create sustainable careers in the arts. We have studios in Iqaluit, Nunavut and Ottawa, Ontario. The label currently works with more than 20 Inuit and Indigenous artists, and we represent and promote many more. The company was founded in 2016.
We’re a social enterprise, and our mission is to create viable careers in the arts for Inuit and Indigenous artists through music, media, and education. Our secondary mission is to empower artists to share and strengthen their stories and culture.