For as long as she can remember, 22‑year‑old Shina Novalinga has been surrounded by throat singing. Her mother, Caroline, is a professional throat singer who learned from Inuk elders in their hometown of Puvirnituq, Nunavik. When Novalinga was seven, Caroline began passing on the tradition – teaching her how to perform the musical and playful “game” between two singers who stand face to face and use breath and guttural sounds to create a rhythm.
Last spring, on a whim, Novalinga uploaded a throat singing video that she and her mom had recorded on TikTok (@shinanova). The video quickly went viral, with millions tuning in to watch the duo make rhythms inspired by the sounds of wind and wildlife. Since then, Novalinga has shared more than 100 videos, highlighting other aspects of her culture, like food and fashion, too. We caught up with Novalinga to chat about using social media to share her heritage, the community she’s building online and what her travels have taught her.