Friday, April 20, 2018

Tanya Tagaq

Music and Movement Series, Ordway Concert Hall

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Celebrated Inuk performer Tanya Tagaq employs exquisite, unnerving vocal improvisations that bridge traditional roots with contemporary culture. Hailed by Rolling Stone as “one of today’s most electric, transfixing performers in any genre,” the Arctic-born artist was the recipient of Canada’s prestigious Polaris Music Prize in 2014 for her album Animism, and was recently named to the Order of Canada, one of the country’s highest honors.

In 2016, Tagaq followed up Animism with Retribution, an even more musically aggressive, more aggressively political work that landed on many of the year’s ‘best of’ lists, with Fader calling it “one of the most stunning records you’ll hear this year, or maybe ever.”

Tagaq has been touring and collaborating with an international circle of artists for over a decade. Her improvisational approach lends itself to collaboration across genres, and recent projects have pulled her in vastly different directions – from a collaboration with the Toronto-based hardcore band F**ked Up to premiering a new composition commissioned by Kronos Quartet for their Fifty for the Future collection. Tagaq was also recently asked to contribute a track to an Adult Swim compilation album entitled NOISE, alongside luminaries like Merzbow, Wolf Eyes, and Pharmakon.

Tanya Tagaq’s music and performances challenge static ideas of genre and culture, and contend with themes of environmentalism, human rights, and post-colonial issues. In repeated interviews, Tagaq has stressed 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 widespread, deep-rooted assumptions about contemporary indigenous culture.

Tanya Tagaq: Retribution is a co-presentation of the Ordway and Walker Art Center.