In 2023 Al Paton, produced and recorded Native American Chillout, a 12-track album of chillout music

Using the name Inuit Chill, Paton wrote the album as as a soundtrack to the video, The Oldest Inuit Footage, which is also produced by Paton.

The video si a collection of footage of Inuit tribes in the arctic from around 1900.

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The Video

The Oldest Inuit Footage, also produced by Paton, shows a compilation of incredible old footage of the Inuit, Iñupiat and Yupik tribes of Alaska, Northern Canada, and Greenland.  

The films date from as early as 1901, and show Inuit and other arctic tribes hunting, fishing, making clothes, building igloos, dog sledding and dancing.

The video is around 24 minutes and shows various categories of footage such as home life, hunting and fishing, how big is the North American Arctic, Alaska, Canada, Greenland, Clothing, How to Build an Igloo and Music and Dancing.

The video ends with the oldest known footage of Inuit peoples: A short clip from 1901 of Inuit tribe’s people at the Pan-American Exposition in Buffalo, New York.

Al Paton
Al Paton

Recording The Album

Paton recorded the album over three weeks in February and March 2023 in his home studio in Reading, England.

The instruments used were a mix of Inuit drums and other world instruments.

The vocals were original samples of Inuit singing.

On producing the album, Paton says:

“It was a challenge to produce the melodic themes of the album because the Inuit culture does not have any melodic instruments other than the voice.”

“I had to be creative and come with sounds that I thought echoed the Arctic environment. There are a lot of strings and less common soundscapes. The general sound can be harsh and beautiful, which I felt captures the environment.”

But you’re not Inuit…

“You’re British. How do you feel about recording an album of Inuit music?” I ask him,

“That’s true,” he says, “but music has always been about assimilation. This is not traditional Inuit music. I don’t think anyone would mistake it for that. I am crossing borders. I am doing what I always do with music – explore.”

Paton discusses the 3 main vocal themes here:

Throat singing

“Throat singing is integral in Inuit music. So I made sure that was front and center. It is the opening track on the album and appears in other places,” he said.

Ummatiga (My Heart)

He mentions the other main recurring theme: “I used this beautiful sample of Inuit singing by a singer known only as Leq. The lyrics are in Greenlandic and roughly translated are:

“Birds take flight,swans glide above the lake.Your embrace melts my heart.Love cannot tie us.Love is free”

Qaammat (The Moon)

He tells me the lilting melody in Greenlandic talks about the beautiful light of the full-moon and how it shines in the other person’s face.

My Small Adventures (Inuit Poem)

The album also contains a recording of this touching Inuit Poem. The poem is anonymous,

I think over again my small adventures.
… My fears,
Those small ones that seemed so big.
For all the vital things I had to get and to reach.
And yet there is only one great thing,
The only thing.
To live to see … the great day that dawns
And the light that fills the world.

The album appears to be a fitting soundtrack to the video, which at the time of writing, has over 200,000 views on YouTube.