Tanya Tagaq

Previously Performed in: 2017, 2006, 2001
(Cambridge Bay, Nunavut)  World

Inuk throat singing isn’t an easy sell to the masses living south of the 60th parallel, but Tanya Tagaq has brought it to a wide audience. Anyone who has seen Tagaq perform can immediately understand how she’s managed to take her craft mainstream (sort of): her performances are so intense, beguiling, and utterly arresting, it’s impossible not to resist the call of her on-stage movement, her unnerving gaze, and the combination of sweet and fiercely guttural sounds emitting from her ever-swaying body.

While Tagaq’s technique certainly is rooted in Inuit tradition, her approach is thoroughly modern and more than a little bit punk rock — the music is unsparingly confrontational in both tone and content. Retribution – the follow-up release to her 2014 Polaris-winning album Animism – is more musically aggressive, political, challenging and spine tingling. It’s not dinner party ambience music; rather an honest, a complex, exhilarating, howling protest and portrait of a violent world in crisis. An outspoken activist, Tagaq weaves themes of sexual and environmental assault (the intense cover of Nirvana’s “Rape Me” on Retribution, was very deliberately chosen), women’s and Indigenous peoples’ rights, and the destructive powers of capitalism into her work.

Set to the soundtrack of Jesse Zubot’s stunning violin and Jean Martin’s dynamic drumming, with an arsenal of digital and analogue effects, Tagaq delivers everything she’s got with an unparalleled strength and ferociousness that is changing the way audiences dream of the power of the North.


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