2020 INSTRUMENTAL ALBUM OF THE YEAR | Tanya Tagaq | | The JUNO Awards

Tanya Tagaq is an improvisational singer, avant-garde composer and bestselling author. A member of the Order of Canada, Polaris Music Prize and JUNO Award winner and recipient of honourary doctorates, Tagaq is one of the country’s most original and celebrated artists. In its many forms, Tagaq’s art challenges static ideas of genre and culture, and contends with themes of environmentalism, human rights and post-colonial issues. In interviews, Tagaq stresses the importance of considering her work in the context of contemporary – not traditional – art. This statement is not just about sound, although her music is decidedly modern and technically intricate, but about deep-rooted assumptions about indigenous culture in general.

In 2014, Tagaq sent shockwaves through the music world with Animism, which disrupted the music industry and contributed to a change in conversation about Indigenous artists. 2017’s Retribution, brought Tagaq’s inimitable and powerful artistic vision to even broader audiences. Recent projects include Giller Prize-nominated novel Split Tooth, and UK National Maritime Museum commission Toothsayer, a soundscape for the permanent “Polar Worlds” exhibit. Ambient and harrowing, Toothsayer was created in collaboration with percussionist Jean Martin and experimental electronic artist Ash Koosha, and brought rave reviews from Pitchfork, The Wire, Noisey.