Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq and Owen Pallett (aka Final Fantasy), the first and the last winners of the Polaris Music Prize, will both perform at the Dec. 1 2015 edition of the Live at Massey Hall concert and film series. With tickets starting at $18.94 and on sale Aug 28, this is by far the must see show of the series as its speaks directly to the locality and to the purpose of the Polaris; the celebration of Canadian music and in a venue created for that reason. There may not be a more Canadian pairing. Tagaq and Pallett represent the indigenous peoples and the European folk traditions respectively.
Canada has always had a bit of a thing for strings; fiddles, violins and their Americana sister, lap/ pedal steel show up consistently in the songbook of the Canadian Sound. Pallett, who got his start in the Celtic band Enter The Haggis, brings this Anglo-Celtic colonial heritage of the stringed instrument to the stage and Tagaq of course brings the most northerly native heritage of the continent.
As winners of the Polaris prize they are the rare couple that truly fulfil the purpose of the award, to honour the best Canadian album of that year regardless of commercial success. They of course both make brilliant music, regularly topping features critics lists globally if not always the charts. As for Canadian, well, Canadian music is music that does not have the same heritage as the USA. Canadian music has no southern influence. There is no blues, no jazz, no R&B roots. There is little southern influence on Pallett’s winning album as Final Fantasy, He Poos Clouds, nor in the music of Tagaq. It is because they are of Canada, none more so.
Of course this is no reason to flash flags or smuggle a Timmy double double into the Old Lady of Shuter Street. This is no Tragically Hip concert but it is a very interesting pairing and the music is just one layer of an intriguing double bill of two solitudes.
Owen and Tanya also it seems have a thing for Caribou.