Episode 47. Interview with Tanya Tagaq

Broken Boxes Podcast is proud to present this episode featuring Tanya Tagaq, respondent Artist for Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory. This is the fourth installation in a series of interviews featuring participants and their respondents from the socially engaged project #callresponse

In this conversation, Tanya Tagaq offers an honest reflection to being an established recording artist today. She speaks about her relationship with her incredible band, her ideas surrounding being a mother and a touring artist, ways in which she practices self care and she shares her views on reconciliation and the important role that art plays in society. Tanya also speaks about her past collaborations and relationship with artist Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory, who Tanya is the respondent artist for in the #callresponse project.

“Tagaq projects sounds that carry the imprint of the body’s secret contours and recesses, delving far beyond personal utterance, out beyond human identity, to summon voices from the flesh cavity haunts of animal spirits and primal energies.” —THE WIRE, UK

Here is the conversation with Tanya Tagaq:

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Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory and Tanya Tagaq performance, 2015. photo credit: Front of House Photography.

Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory and Tanya Tagaq performance, 2015. photo credit: Front of House Photography.

More about the artist:

Tanya Tagaq’s music isn’t like anything you’ve heard before. Unnerving and exquisite, Tagaq’s unique vocal expression may be rooted in Inuit throat singing but her music has as much to do with electronica, industrial and metal influences as it does with traditional culture.

This Inuk punk is known for delivering fearsome, elemental performances that are visceral and physical, heaving and breathing and alive. Her shows draw incredulous response from worldwide audiences, and Tagaq’s tours tend to jump back and forth over the map of the world. From a Mexican EDM festival to Carnegie Hall, her music and performances transcend language.

Tagaq makes musical friends and collaborators with an array of like-minded talents: opera singers, avant-garde violin composers, experimental DJs, all cutting edge and challenging. Tanya’s albums make for complex listening, but her string of Juno nominations attests to her ability to make difficult music speak a universal tongue.

Tagaq's most recent album, Animism was produced by west coast shape-shifter Jesse Zubot (Dan Mangan, Fond of Tigers) with additional production by Juan Hernandez. The record features Michael Red (Low Indigo), a live programmer whose wild northern field recordings often serve as Tagaq’s de facto backing band, percussionist Jean Martin and Belgian opera singer Anna Pardo Canedo.

Animism has received major critical praise and attention in Canada. The album won the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, a prestigious annual award (based on the UK’s Mercury Prize) that judges albums based on “the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, professional affiliation, or sales history.” Tanya’s unforgettable gala performance and acceptance speech have further amplified the impact of this win, and her victory has been heralded a turning point in Canadian music and culture. Animism  has also been nominated for in “Pushing the Boundaries” and Aboriginal Songwriter of the Year categories from the Canadian Folk Music Awards (winners have not been announced at this time).
Resource: Six Shooter Records

#callresponse project details:

 

Strategically centering Indigenous women as vital presences across multiple platforms, #callresponse is a multifaceted project which includes a website, social media platform, touring exhibition and catalogue. The project brings together five local art commissions by Indigenous women artists from across Canada, including Christi Belcourt, Maria Hupfield, Ursula Johnson, Tania Willard and Laakkuluk Williamson-Bathory. Each artist has invited a guest to respond to their work, including Isaac Murdoch, IV Castellanos and Esther Neff, Cheryl L’Hirondelle, Marcia Crosby and Tanya Tagaq.

#callresponse is co-organized by Tarah Hogue, Maria Hupfield and Tania Willard, and produced in partnership with grunt gallery and generously supported by the {Re}conciliation initiative of the Canada Council for the Arts, the J.W. McConnell Family Foundation and The Circle on Philanthropy and Aboriginal Peoples in Canada. Additional presentation partners include BUSH Gallery, Emily Carr University of Art + Design, FADO Performance Art Centre, Kamloops Art Gallery, OFFTA live art festival, the National Arts Centre, and the Native Education College.