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Inuvik-born musician returning home after lifetime away

A long road for Shannon O’Donovan is coming full circle this week.
Whitehorse based singer-songwriter Shannon O’Donovan was born in Inuvik in 1977. Now, she’s coming home to perform at the Igloo Church where she was baptized. Photo courtesy of Shannon O’Donovan

A long road for Shannon O’Donovan is coming full circle this week.

Born in Inuvik in 1977, the singer-songwriter moved to Whitehorse with her family when she was still a baby and she has not been this way since.

But now she’s coming home to play a concert at the Igloo Church — where she was baptized — on May 13, alongside her brother Ryan O’Donovan of Dawson City. Local folk artist Abe Drennan will open the show.

“My parents lived there for four years,” she said. “When Peter Clarkson saw me play at the Yukon Arts Centre in Whitehorse he invited me to come up and do a show at the Igloo Church, so that’s what we’re going to do.

“I’m really excited to return to Inuvik and to get to know my birth place again. I only have memories through photographs.”

Now once again living in the North, O’Donovan is getting back in touch with her roots.

Drawing on influences like Emmylou Harris and John Prine, O’Donovan says she likes to sing about matters close to her heart. An avid outdoorsperson, she devotes a few songs towards environmental stewardship, with a touch of country and bluegrass. She said much of her songs run along the gain of motherhood, family and relationships.

Returning to her birthplace after nearly 50 years, O’Donovan said she’s looking forward to seeing how much Inuvik has grown and changed from her fleeting memories of the place.

“My mom is coming with me as my groupie,” she said. “She hasn’t been back since the 1970s either, so she’s quite excited to come back. The next day, Peter is taking my mother, my sister and I to Tuktoyaktuk to see the world out there, so we’re really looking forward to that.

“It’s my sort of northern tour,” she said. “I’ve played Dawson City, I’ve played Whitehorse, I’m going to play a show at the Old Crow the day before and I’m playing Inuvik.

“I’m doing over a few months because I have young children and can’t go away for long periods of time.”

Tickets are $20 at the door and East Three Students are free to get in. O’Donovan will also be selling her album, Pockets of Time- released in September 2022, at the show.

Doors are at 7:30 p.m. O’Donovan said people can check out her music at if they want to get a sample of her sound before the show.

About the Author: Eric Bowling

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