Nunatta Katersugaasivia Allagaateqarfialu
Greenland National Museum & Archives


Personal songs

Inukkuut are songs made for people that know each other well. The tradition is rooted in drum songs. Inukkuut are sung at family gatherings or celebrations with friends like birthdays, anniversaries, or other special occasions. They can include verses about specific episodes, people, gatherings and places.

The songs are learned by heart. Later, when they have been in use for some time, people start writing them down and this is how they spread. The songs are handed out in homemade song booklets at confirmations, weddings, birthdays and on other festive occasions.


The most famous inukkuut is ‘Guuterput qutsinnermiu’ by Rasmus Berthelsen.

It has two verses and is a Christian hymn. The two verses of the hymn are below.

1. Guuterput qutsinnermiu

                    2. Illernartoq Guutiusoq 


                    Qilammi Naalagaq

nuna eqqissinerqarli

                    pimmat nunarsuatsinnut






                    annattussannguleramik. "


The hymn was first published in 1858 in a booklet called "Tugsiutit erinagdlit, nagdliútorssuarne atortagkat. Katerssuissok: R. Berthelsen. Nûngme Avangnardlêt Nakiterivfiane Nakitat. 1858". Today the song is in the Greenlandic book of hymns, and is sung at Christmas. It has become part of the identity of Greenlanders.

Other famous songs are “Ukuarlivarisaa” with verses of “Ajjaj-jaa-a, ajjaj-jaa”, based on the story of a qivittoq, a mythical mountain wanderer, or Qatserlini, qatsinngivarlini. These songs are based on drum song melodies and are characterised by the repetition of specific verses to a set beat.


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