With a style perpetually galvanized by darkness and haunting northern beauty, sisters, Tiffany Ayalik and Kayley Mackay, come together to create Inuit style throat singing duo, PIQSIQ. Performing ancient traditional songs and eerie new compositions, they leave their listeners enthralled with the infinity of possible answers to the question “what is the meaning of life.”
With roots in Nunavut’s Kitikmeot and Kivalliq Regions, the two sisters grew up in Yellowknife, Northwest Territories where keeping a connection to their Inuit culture was challenging. After years of forging hard-won skill, they developed their own form blended with their love of haunting melodies and otherworldly sounds.
As the sisters approached adulthood they realized throat singing was not only a musical expression but a radical, political act of cultural revitalization.
PIQSIQ’s name stems from the sisters’ shared feelings of confusion regarding their identities growing up. A piqsiq is a storm that happens when the winds blow in a very specific way, making it look like the snow is falling back up towards the sky. Being children of blended backgrounds, Kayley and Tiffany always felt they had to navigate strange cultural waters and have learned to embrace that journey.
As PIQSIQ, they perform improvisational looping live, creating a dynamic audience experience that changes with every show. PIQSIQ incorporates that haunting, ethereal feel into their debut album Altering the Timeline. The direction for the album sparked during a spontaneous jam session with Ruby Singh next to the Bow River at the Calgary Folk Music Festival in the summer of 2018.
PIQSIQ continues to perform across Canada to sold-out audiences. Kayley and Tiffany are excited for the magic to continue as they seek out new collaborations and further develop their entrancing style.
Both sisters are also members of the Juno Award-winning band, Quantum Tangle, alongside Greyson Gritt.