Tanya Tagaq’s music is like nothing you’ve heard before. The Arctic-born artist is an improvisational performer, avant-garde composer and experimental recording artist who won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize for an album called Animism, a work that disrupted the music world in Canada and beyond with its powerfully original vision. Retribution, her Polaris-nominated follow-up, is an even more musically aggressive, more aggressively political, more challenging, more spine tingling, more powerful masterpiece.
Recently appointed as a Member of the Order of Canada, Tanya Tagaq challenges static ideas of genre and culture, and contend with themes of environmentalism, human rights and post-colonial issues. Her music and performance are a complex, exhilarating, howling protest that links lack of respect for women’s rights to lack of respect for the planet, to lack of respect for Indigenous rights.
Tagaq contorts elements of punk, metal, and electronica into a complex and contemporary sound that begins in breath, a communal and fundamental phenomenon. As leader of her project, she uses the power of her voice, the power of her commitment to her performance, the power of her informed, and uncompromising artistic standards, to draw other, similarly committed and talented people to her mission. Recent projects have pulled her in vastly different directions, from improvised live collaborations with Fucked Up, to premiering a composition made for Kronos Quartet’s Fifty for the Future collection.