Tanya Tagaq Wins the Polaris Prize

If you’re unfamiliar, the Polaris Music Prize is an award for Best Canadian Album in the tradition of the well-respected UK Mercury Music Prize.

AKA: it’s the prize the critics and music nerds take seriously. (So basically, the opposite of the Juno Awards.) It’s where independently produced music, the albums that sit outside the mainstream, still have a chance at taking home a title their music deserves.

In order to decide on the prize, 11 of the 200+ jurors who voted on the 40-album Long List and 10-album Short List of best Canadian albums come together to vote for one winner.

This year, Tanya Tagaq, the aboriginal artist who brought the tradition of throat singing to the rest of Canada, took home the $30,000 prize for her album, Animism

All the more impressive due to her stiff competition.

This year’s Short List consisted of Arcade Fire, Basia Bulat, Drake, Mac DeMarco, Jessy Lanza, Owen Pallett, Shad, Timber Timbre, and YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN.

While the Prize isn’t decided by Gala performances, which took place last night at the Carlu, it’s safe to say her powerfully shocking performance easily showed the audience why she ended up taking it home – backed by a choir and a scrolling list of Canada’s missing Indigenous women.

Throat singing isn’t a style of music the mainstream is likely to easily embrace – luckily, Tagaq is certainly not one to care what the mainstream thinks.

Upon acceptance of her award, she thanked her record label, Six Shooter Records, and went on to talk about eating animal products and her lack of love for the animal rights organization PETA.

“People should wear and eat seal as much as possible because, if you can imagine, an indigenous culture is thriving and surviving on a sustainable resource: wearing seal and eating it. It’s delicious and there’s lots of them. F*** PETA,” Tagaq said.

We look forward to seeing her grow and push the boundaries even more as she continues to develop her artistic chops.



Images: Polaris Facebook Page, Tanya’s Facebook Page

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