Friday, 28 April 2017

Banff Centre Spoken Word Residency - Day 12

Friday, April 28
7:30 pm - Tanya Tagaq Performance - Margaret Greenham Theatre

I spent the day preparing for the performance, and then met up with Kyla from the Social Media team at Banff Centre for a short interview and photo.

In the evening we attended the Tanya Tagaq performance. Having never experienced throat singing before, I did not know what to expect, and was really excited.

Tanya Tagaq is a contemporary artist and throat singer from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. She just won the prestigious 2014 Polaris Prize and the 2015 Juno Award for Best Aboriginal Album of the Year for her latest album, Animism. Since 2001, she has forged a remarkable career performing on stages around the world and collaborating with world-renowned artists such as Bjork and the Kronos Quartet. She has released four award-winning albums: Sinaa (2005), Auk/ Blood (2008), Anuraaqtuq (2011) and Animism(2014) which is also set to be released in the United States. She has won numerous Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards and been nominated for numerous Juno Awards. During her teenage years, while away at school, she began experimenting with Inuit throat singing and gradually developed her own solo style, fusing contemporary interests with this traditional art form. Her unique sound defies easy categorization; it has been described as ‘primal’, ‘orchestral’ and as ‘free jazz’.

She has also ventured into film performance, contributing to the soundtrack for “Diaries of Knut Rasmussen” and theme music for the CBC television show Arctic Air. She performed in the award-winning short film Tungijuq which premiered to rave reviews at the Toronto International Film Festival (2009) and the Sundance Film Festival (2010). More recently, she has collaborated with musicians Jesse Zubot and Jean Martin in scoring a powerful live performance set to the 1922 film, Nanook of the North.

"Her ghostly chants, guttural growls, gasps and moans are enough to make Björk, her sometime collaborator, sound as demure as a choirgirl." - The Guardian

The performance was out of this world. Tanya showed another side to her personality. Infact, it was hard to believe that the woman on stage was the same woman who had appeared so sensitive and fragile at the beginning of her artist talk the day before.

She had mentioned that the performance may have been difficult to understand had she not spoken to us, and I can certainly see what she meant by that. I think that when on stage, she was enacting some of the stories that she had told us about. What came out of her mouth was so rich, full of emotion, pain, grief, hurt, delight. It was visually amazing to watch also. She was transformed as she moved from one character to another.

At the end I met up with the other Spoken Word artists and we were shellshocked and speechless! We had been blown away.

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