Sometimes life surprises you. While I thought that Inuit throat-singer Tanya Tagak should win the 2014 Polaris Prize (and its $30,000 cheque) and I didn’t think she would. Her album Animism is without a doubt one of the most original, complex and just plain mind-blowing records to come around in years. It’s also intense, strange and about as far away from a pop album as you can get. I thought that Timber Timbre’s Hot Dreams, a more accessible though still creative and fantastic record, was going to take it. I was happily wrong.
After causing everyone’s jaw to drop with a performance that featured a 40-person chorus and visuals that gave tribute to missing and murdered Aboriginal women, Tanya Tagak won the Polaris Prize and rightfully so. After she was announced as the winner, everyone at the Carlu, the venue for last night’s award show, rose to their feet for only the second time that evening. The first time was of course after Tanya finished wowing even the most jaded industry person.
Tanya’s win has resulted in a number of articles that explore what this means for Aboriginal and minority artists as well as Aboriginal people in general. Personally I’m just happy that the Polaris jurors picked the strongest, boldest and just plain best album, even if that record is sort of terrifying to listen to.
If you haven’t heard Animism, you can listen to it now over on CBC Music.