Tanya Tagaq
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Tanya Tagaq

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Music

Press


"Musician"

She’s “like Edith Piaf or something, totally emotional.
- Bjork


"Winnipeg Free Press"

Nunuvut-born Tanya Tagaq Gillis drags the ancient Inuit tradition of throat singing into the pop age, using elements of hip-hop and multi-track layering. This disc ... won Tagaq best female artist at last November's Aboriginal Music Awards, and it's easy to hear why.
- Morley Walker


"CBC Roots and Wings"

Tanya Tagaq is a compelling artist whose electrifying throat-singing acts as a sonic gateway into the primal essense of humanity. Although she works in an deep-rooted tradition, Tagaq is willing to experiment with radical new ideas. It is the contradiction of ancient and modern elements in her work that creates a depth and richness few solo vocalists can hope to achieve.
- Philly Markowitz


"Discorder"

Tagaq’s guttural cries and unfamiliar melodies have a primal feel, employing a range of raw emotive power typically denied to vocalists. ... one of the rarest voices in contemporary music.
- Discorder


"The Kronos Quartet"

"the Jimi Hendrix of throat singing" - David Hetherington


"Tanya Tagaq"

The most remarkable sounds of the night came from a petite Canadian Inuit singer who was responsible for the most erotic, orgazmic noises I have ever heard in a church... Her emotional, rhythmic re-working of Inuit culture involded frantic panting and heavy breathing mixed with grunts, growls and wails, all backed by minimalist backing from a laptop. It was extraordinary... - Robin Denselow for the Guardian


"The romance of global collaboration"

The Inuit tradition of throat singing is intimately connected to life in the Far North -- it imitates the creak of icel floes and the calls of geese. It is born from a tight brace of community surrounded by an unyielding environment. But it is the transgressing of that tradition through cross-cultural collaborations that makes Tanya Tagaq of Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, a great musician. - Michael Harris for the Globe and Mail


"Summer's Hidden Treasures: Music"

"...Popular music is always about desire in one form or another, and Tagaq has a way of touching the broadest and deepest desires we know, and maybe some we've forgotten about. Her adaptations of Inuit throat singing feel like the primal music of the Earth..." - Robert Everett-Green


Discography

"Sinaa" released 2005
"Auk' to be released July 29, 2008

Photos

Bio

“Tanya is directly musically in touch with something that is almost a ghost. To me, it is something that is so special and so much a part of the earth and the land and the environment” – David Harrington, Kronos Quartet

‘Indescribable’ is not an appropriate word to begin an artist’s bio, nor is it suitable as a description of a musician. The problem is this: when Tanya Tagaqs’ music fills your ears, she is genuinely one of those rare artists whose sounds and styles are truly groundbreaking. ‘Inuit throat singer’ is one part of her sonic quotient. So are descriptions like ‘orchestral’ ‘hip-hop-infused’ and ‘primal’…but these words are not usually used collectively. In the case of Tagaq, however – they are.

So much has happened to Tagaq since the release of her debut CD Sinaa (meaning ‘edge’ in her ancestral language of Inuktitut) in 2005. The Nunavut-born singer has not just attracted the attention of some of the world’s most groundbreaking artists, they have invited her to participate on their own musical projects, not just singularly, but repeatedly. Tanya has recently recorded once again with Björk (specifically on the soundtrack for the Matthew Barney film Drawing Restraint 9) having already appeared on Björk’s Medúlla CD in 2004 and accompanied her on the Vespertine tour. In 2007, another monumental collaborative project came to fruition when the Kronos Quartet invited Tanya to participate – as co-writer and performer – on a project aptly titled Nunavut, which has been performed at select venues across North America, from its January 2008 debut at the Chan Centre in Vancouver, BC through to New York’s Carnegie Hall. Acclaim and respect has followed Tagaq on her solo ventures as well: both Sinaa and Auk / Blood were nominated for a Juno Award (Best Aboriginal Recording) and (Best Instrumental Recording) Both recordings won in several categories at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, including Best Female Artist.

Tanya’s most recent project is the stunning video “Tungajuk” on which she collaborated with Jesse Zubot and Montreal filmmakers Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael.
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