Polaris Prize, Juno award-winner, and 2017 Order of Canada recipient Tanya Tagaq is an innovative, impressive vocalist. Tagaq can capture the most ethereal moments of desire or find the deepest, huskiest, beating pulse with her voice and breath. She can create a soundscape from inhalation and exhalation, summon a powerful emotion from the smallest movement of lips, throat, lungs. Tagaq will perform at Meaford Hall on Sunday, May 7.
“Calling Tanya Tagaq an Inuit throat singer is like calling Yo-Yo Ma a cello player. Sure, it’s accurate, but it’s not the whole of what he does. Like Ma, Tagaq is the best of what she does — innovative, inspired,” noted the National Post.
Tanya Tagaq’s intense, evocative vocalizations, based on Inuit throat singing traditions, help reclaim the controversial 1922 film Nanook of the North. Tagaq, along with percussionist Jean Martin and violinist Jesse Zubot perform a live accompaniment to the film's silent images of life in an early 20th-century Inuit community in Northern Quebec. This performance reclaims and re-imagines the deeply stereotypical silent film, with a new score and live musical accompaniment.
Begun as a commission for the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival, Tagaq performs a remixed version of the piece that channels her frustrations against stereotypes and takes that energy to transform it sonically in order to “reclaim the film”.
As the PuSH Festival described it: “In this concert for film she fuses her voice and musical talents to create a mesmerizing, original soundscape for Nanook of the North, perhaps the most famous (and perhaps most infamous) film ever made about indigenous people. Tagaq’s haunting throat singing combines with Jesse Zubot and Jean Martin’s improvisatory genius and Derek Charke’s original film score to frame film pioneer Robert Flaherty’s 1922 semi-documentary in a new, contemporary light.”
Tagaq is the leader of this project, and she uses the power of her voice, the power of her commitment to her performance and her uncompromising artistic standards, to draw other, similarly committed and talented people to her mission. Jesse Zubot collaborates as producer and lead violinist, creating a stunning array of sound, employing mastery over his instrument and an arsenal of digital and analogue effects. Jean Martin’s drumming builds dynamics and rolls devastatingly across the sonic landscape like a tank division of Tagaq Army, an army which includes Tuvan throat singer Raddick Tulush, rapper Shad, traditional Inuk singer Ruben Komangapik, and Tagaq’s own young daughter, Inuuja.
Tagaq won the Polaris Prize for best Canadian album in 2014, for Animism. Those who thought she had then made her definitive artistic statement were in for a surprise. Also in for a shock are those who thought international success, playing to major festivals and packed houses all over the world, would lead to a mellower sound, or a more laid back approach.
Tagaq follows up Animism with Retribution, an even more musically aggressive, more political, challenging, and powerful masterpiece. There are those who find comfort in the bland sweetness of middle of the road love songs designed to soothe. But then there are music fans that find comfort in honesty, blazing human talent, and free, intelligent expression of passion.
Tanya Tagaq’s unique vocal expression may be rooted in Inuit throat singing but her music has as much to do with electronica, industrial, and metal influences as it does with traditional culture. Don’t miss this stellar evening featuring one of Canada’s best.
Tickets are$50 & $60, showtime is 8 p.m. on Sunday, May 7 at the Meaford Hall Arts & Cultural Centre. For more info, check Facebook, online at www.meafordhall.ca, by calling 1.877.538.0463 or stop by the box office at 12 Nelson St E.