Drumming Practices with Sean and Christopher Topkok

The Circumpolar Music Series presents

a public demonstration on drumming practices with Dr. Sean Asikłuk Topkok and Christopher Topkok



Sean Topkok playing a drum for the Pavva Iñupiaq DancersThe Circumpolar Music Series is hosting a public demonstration on drumming practices with with Dr. Sean Asikłuk Topkok and Christopher Topkok on Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 at 11:30am in the UAF Davis Concert Hall. Sean Asikłuk Topkok is currently director of the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies at UAF and is also a member of The Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers along with his son, Christopher. Sean and Christopher will visit the Alaska Native Music course to discuss the drumming, songs, and dance of the The Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers.


What: Drumming Practices with Dr. Sean Asikłuk Topkok and Christopher Topkok

Date: Tuesday, February 20th, 2024

Time: 11:30am

Location: Davis Concert Hall

Fine Arts Complex

University of Alaska Fairbanks Troth Yeddha’ Campus

1708 Tanana Loop, Fairbanks, AK 99775

Live Stream Option Available: https://www.youtube.com/uafdepartmentofmusic/live



Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers perform drums on stage


Dr. Sean Asikłuk Topkok giving a talkDr. Topkok is the Director for the Indigenous Studies master’s and doctoral programs at the University of Alaska Fairbanks in the Center for Cross-Cultural Studies. His research interests include multicultural and Indigenous education, decolonization and Indigenist methods and methodologies, working with communities to help them document their cultural heritages, and community well-being.

Topkok is the founder and leader of the Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers, and has been the dance group leader since it began in 1999.  The Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers are residents of the Fairbanks area and were formed to preserve the culture and traditions of the Iñupiaq peoples through song and dance. Sharing our culture through performances to both Alaska Native and non-Native peoples help us keep strong in our heritage. Fairbanks is in the interior of Alaska and the name "Pavva," in Iñupiaq means 'away from shore, landwards, toward the mountain' was chosen. The group chose this name because they live away from the Northern region where their parents and grandparents originally lived.

Although most of the Iñupiaq people in Fairbanks may have danced with family or other dance groups, they formed the Iñupiaq dance group in 1999 to be able to share dances, to learn from one another, and to perform for others. The group practices on a regular basis, twice a month through the school year, and still perform throughout the year. As members perform for groups, other Iñupiaq and others who have a high interest in Iñupiaq culture and beliefs have come to join the group.

The Pavva Iñupiaq Dancers pose for a group photo in front of their bannerThe group is growing to meet the desire to learn and preserve the Iñupiaq values and traditions. Sharing of songs and dances reflect the culture, traditions and heritage the Iñupiaq people passed down from generation to generation. Asiqluq, our group leader has created songs and dances for us to perform, and we have performed shared dances from Yup’ik and Iñupiaq groups. Performances include many Alaska Native cultural and non-Native events throughout Alaska including locations such as Anchorage, Fairbanks, Juneau, North Pole, Nenana, Bethel and St. Mary’s. Members of the group have also performed in many U.S. states such as California, Hawai’i, New Mexico, Oregon, Texas, Florida, Washington, Oklahoma, Utah, Maryland, and Washington DC. International locations also include Calgary, Malaysia, Iqaluit in Nunavut, Canada, and most recently in New Zealand. We have been filmed by many international film and TV companies such as BBC for the children's program Blue Peter, Japanese TV about Northern Lights and Indigenous people, CBS Morning News/ Today Show and others.



Share in Iñupiaq culture and join Dr. Sean Asikłuk Topkok and Christopher Topkok on Tuesday, February 20th, 2024 at 11:30am in the Davis Concert Hall located in the Fine Arts Complex on the University of Alaska Fairbanks Troth Yeddha’ Campus at 1708 Tanana Loop, Fairbanks, AK 99775.

Metered parking lots on campus can be paid via the PassportParking mobile app or at a blue parking kiosk.


If you are not able to join us in person, consider joining the conversation online at the date and time of the event: https://www.youtube.com/uafdepartmentofmusic/live


The Circumpolar Music Series is a new initiative led by the UAF Department of Music beginning in 2022. CMS annually showcases artists, scholars, and musicians who identify with the circumpolar region of the world. Through performances, lectures, and hands-on activities, distinct features of northern art and music will be shared and explored. The UAF Department of Music is grateful to its generous benefactor, Catherine Madsen for her support of the Circumpolar Music Series.

This event is brought to you by the UAF Department of Music and the Circumpolar Music Series. Please contact Sean Dowgray, Circumpolar Music Series Faculty Organizer with any questions about the event at sdowgray@alaska.edu