I’m wondering if Tanya Tagaq doesn’t have an outside shot. It would be a bit of an upset, but it would be in line with what the Polaris was conceived to be when it first started.
Above is a comment I made in response to a blog post James Brotheridge did when the short-list for the 2014 Polaris Prize was announced on July 15. James suggested in his post that Shad was the likely front-runner to take home the award and the accompanying $30,000 prize.
It’s not that I disagreed with his assessment, but having had a chance to review the Inuit throat singer’s album Animism when it came out in May, and having seen some critical buzz developing around her in the succeeding months, it seemed possible to me that the Polaris jury might opt to make a statement by awarding her the prize.
And last night in Toronto that’s what ended up happening, as Tagaq picked up the award at a star-studded gala that included a performance by her. As I noted in my CD review, Tagaq’s album is as much performance art as music so it’s very definitely suited for the stage.
You can read more on last night’s gala in this CBC report. And to give you a sense of what Tagaq is like as an artist, here’s video of her performing in Mexico in 2010: