Inuvialuvit and Dine Singer Nina Segalowitz Named Co-Artistic Director of Oktoecho

The ensemble has announced a significant evolution in its artistic management style, reflecting this cultural diversity.

By: Feb. 22, 2024
Inuvialuvit and Dine Singer Nina Segalowitz Named Co-Artistic Director of Oktoecho
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As a precious collaborator for over 15 years, Nina Segalowitz, an Inuit throat singer with Oktoecho, joins the ensemble's artistic direction team as the co-artistic director for the Indigenous (First Nations and Inuit) section.

Since its foundation by composer Katia Makdissi-Warren in 2001, the musical ensemble Oktoecho has distinguished itself with its innovative approach in the fusion of Western, Middle Eastern, and Indigenous music. Today, the ensemble has announced a significant evolution in its artistic management style, reflecting this cultural diversity.

"Nina has already been playing an advisory role for several years. Her valuable advice has over the years allowed us to create respectful and authentic musical encounters within the ensemble. She contributes greatly to creative innovation. It was therefore natural to appoint her to this key position at Oktoecho," says Katia Makdissi-Warren, the principal artistic director.

At the heart of the ensemble, three artists now lead Oktoecho's projects with a shared yet distinct vision.

1. Katia Makdissi-Warren, artistic director and composer, continues to lead and oversee all projects.

2. Lydia Etok, a renowned Inuit throat singer, takes on the co-artistic direction of the Inuit section, bringing her deep knowledge and experience in this field.

3. Nina Segalowitz, Inuvialuvit and Dine singer, co-leads the Indigenous (First Nations and Inuit) section, integrating her rich cultural heritage into the creations.

"This distribution of roles is not just about task division, but a true fusion of ideas and perspectives," explain the co-artistic directors.

A cooperative model inspired by Indigenous traditions

The most specific aspect of this artistic direction structure is its direct inspiration from the cooperative principles of Inuit and First Nations cultures. For 15 years, in the Indigenous section, Oktoecho has operated on a model of collective discussion, similar to traditional Circle Councils. This approach promotes open dialogue, balance of opinions, and harmonious decision-making, reflecting the deep values of these cultures.

A cultural mosaic within the artistic direction

Each of the co-artistic directors brings an essential part of their original culture, enriching our musical palette. Katia Makdissi-Warren, with her Lebanese roots, offers a unique perspective on Middle Eastern music. Nina Segalowitz, of Dine (First Nations) and Inuvialuit origin, merges these two cultural riches in our work. Lydia Etok, Inuit from Nunavik, brings her expertise and experience of Inuit vocal traditions.

"This diversity is key to Oktoecho's continued success and its ability to innovate in the music field. It is unusual, but we firmly believe it is the most appropriate and effective way for our ensemble," remind the co-artistic directors.

About Nina Segalowitz

Nina Segalowitz is an Inuvialuit /Chipewyan from Fort Smith, Northwest Territories. She is proud to be a mother of three children. A survivor of the Sixties Scoop, Nina earned a Bachelor of Applied Human Sciences from Concordia University, a DEP in accounting, and a DEP in social work.

She has dedicated her entire career to working with the Indigenous community, particularly with victims of violence, and is currently a cultural consultant for the Canadian Armed Forces, Montreal police, as well as many universities and schools. She also serves on the board of the Legacy of Hope Foundation.

Nina is a multi-talented artist. An Inuit throat singer, hand drum player, and accomplished Inuit cellist, Nina has been performing worldwide for 25 years, including a recent impromptu performance with musician Bobby McFerrin. She is part of the Oktoecho group and demystifies Inuit culture through music and various workshops.

About Oktoecho

Founded in 2001 and in residence at the Maison de la Culture Ahuntsic since 2010, Oktoecho is a musical ensemble that creates original Quebec works nourished by the meeting of Western, Middle Eastern, and Indigenous music. The ensemble acts as a producer of concerts, events, recordings, and tours. In addition, the ensemble offers specialized teaching of various music (Middle Eastern, Indigenous) to professional musicians and composers.


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