Tanya Tagaq is one badass woman. The Inuk singer who hails from the Cambridge Bay in Nunavut just won the $30K Polaris Music Prize, Canada's annual award for the best full-length album (basically Canada's Mercury Prize) for her latest release, Animism. She beat out Arcade Fire, Timber Timbre, Shad, Drake, Mac DeMarco, and others. And oh, she's a throat singer.
Animism is the third album for Juno-nominated Tagaq, who brags Björk and A Tribe Called Red as collaborators, and it is unlike anything you've heard before. CBC's Holly Gordon described it as "part throat singing, part EDM, part animal." But there are a lot of orchestral elements in there too. If that sounds confusing, just go listen to it. It's awesome. Here's the trailer for her album, featuring the song "Umingmak" just to get a little taste:
Tagaq also happens to by a strong proponent of the consumption of seals, something that indigenous cultures in Canada have been doing for a long-ass time, though they catch a lot of unnecessary animal activist flak for it.
After accepting her award at the Polaris Gala (hosted by Jay Baruchel) on Monday night, Tagaq stated, via The Star:
"The album itself came from a very awesome place," Tagaq said as she accepted. "I couldn't be more happy."
After thanking her producer and family, Tagaq shifted into an impassioned "side note."
"People should wear and eat seal as much as possible because if you can imagine an indigenous culture thriving and surviving on sustainable resource, wearing seal and eating it, it's delicious and there's lots of them.
"I really believe that if hipsters can make flower beards in, then you can do it with seal," she added. "Come on, guys."
Tagaq joins the ranks of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Feist, Arcade Fire, Caribou, and others who have previously won the Polaris Prize. Dammit, I miss Canada.
Image via Tanya Tagaq's Facebook page.