The Montreal band 'Godspeed You! Black Emperor' won the Polaris Music Award for its album 'ALLELUJAH! DON'T BEND! ASCEND!.
Photo Credit: Constellation Records

Group wins Polaris Music Prize, criticizes gala in ‘time of austerity’

After winning the Polaris Music Prize, the Montreal group Godspeed You! Black Emperor posted its thanks for the nomination and win, and then criticized organizers for holding a gala “in a time of austerity”.

The band’s statement addressed “kanada” and “kanadian music-writers” : “thanks for the nomination thanks for the prize- it feels nice to be acknowledged by the Troubled Motherland when we so often feel orphaned here. and much respect for all y’all who write about local bands, who blow that horn loudly- because that trumpeting is crucial and necessary and important.”

And then lists the reasons for its statement:

3 quick bullet-points that almost anybody could agree on maybe=

-holding a gala during a time of austerity and normalized decline is a weird thing to do.

-organizing a gala just so musicians can compete against each other for a novelty-sized cheque doesn’t serve the cause of righteous music at all.

-asking the toyota motor company to help cover the tab for that gala, during a summer where the melting northern ice caps are live-streaming on the internet, IS F****** INSANE, and comes across as tone-deaf to the current horrifying malaise.

According to the Polaris website the prize “recognizes and markets albums of the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history. it is adjudicated by selected music journalists, broadcasters and bloggers.” Polaris Prizes have previously been awarded to Feist, Arcade Fire, Karkwa, Patrick Watson, Caribou and Final Fantasy.

The $30,000 Polaris Music Prize is awarded to the artist who produced Canada’s top album of the year.

In their statement the band added “give the money to the kids let ‘em put on their own g****** parties…us we’re gonna use the money to try to set up a program so that prisoners in quebec have musical instruments if they need them…”

The band won the prize for their album ‘ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND!

More information:
CBC News – Polaris winner critical of award gala in a ‘time of austerity’ – here
Godspeed You! Black Emperor statement – here
Godspeed You! Black Emperor ‘ALLELUJAH! DON’T BEND! ASCEND! album info – here
Polaris Music Prize website –

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