Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq was awarded Canada’s prestigious Polaris Prize Monday night (September 22) for her album Animism besting the nine other albums on the short list.
Before the announcement in Toronto, Tagaq performed a version of her song “Uja” from the album, accompanied by a 40-member choir during the Polaris Gala.
“We’ve been doing it our own way without backing down artistically or conforming, so to be recognized in this way and have so many people latch on makes me feel the world is tolerable,” said Tagaq in a statement after her win.
“There’s so much hurt in the world and within indigenous cultures with colonialism. Canada is in a desperate need for repair and I think a lot of people are tired of living this way and just to have people understand where we’re coming from makes me have hope that we can move forward and expose the true history of Canada.”
The Polaris Prize goes to the best Canadian album of the year based on “artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation.” A jury of 11 music media professionals drawn from the greater Polaris jury pool of over 200 writers, editors, broadcasters, DJs and personalities from across the country chose Tagaq the winner.
Related stories from around the North:
Canada: New app teaches Inuktitut through song, CBC News
Greenland: Greenlandic Hip-hop: Sixteen Minutes with TuuMotz, Radio Canada International
Norway: SlinCraze – Sami Hip-Hop, Eye on the Arctic