Uummannaq is a village set on Uumannaq Island on the west coast of Greenland. The strikingly beautiful island is distinguished by gigantic pinnacle that rises above the village (1170 metres) and is unmistakeably in the shape of a heart. Ummannaq means “heart shaped” in Greenlandic Inuktitut. As the story goes, those who are born in the shadow of this heart or those who come under its power will seek to return to Ummannaq forever because the island holds your heart as well.
I fell under the spell of this village, island and people a few years ago while working for the “Students on Ice Foundation”. Each summer SOI takes 70+ students from around the world to the Arctic world for two weeks of intensive scientific and cultural studies. Uummannaq has been a highlight of these journeys as the village boosts a vibrant music and cultural scene as well as orphanage which is world renowned for its choir. In 2015, SOI celebrated Uummannaq’s 250th anniversary. We sang a song in the town’s square inspired by our visit.
This video and song is dedicated to the work of photographer Lee Narraway. Lee worked as photographer for SOI for many years and several of the photographs in this video are hers. Due to health restrictions, Lee can no longer travel with SOI but I walk with her still through fields of Arctic cotton beneath that towering mountain.