Animism, the latest album by Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq, was honored in the fall with the Polaris Prize; it's now been nominated for a Juno Award in three categories.
The Polaris Prize was a big deal; jury members picked Tagaq's disc out of a shortlist that included Drake and Arcade Fire. The Junos—a Grammy-like award given to Canadian artists—are even bigger, but the circumstances are different. Tagaq's Animism is nominated for Alternative Album of the Year and Aboriginal Album of the Year—but not Album of the Year. The third nomination bestowed on Animism is for the Producer of the Year Award, earned by Jesse Zubot for his work on "Caribou" and "Uja."
Tagaq is on a roll in the media, and is gaining momentum. She's profiled in the current issue of the New Yorker. She was picked by Rolling Stone as one of "10 New Artists You Need to Know."Animism had its US and UK release, and was showered with love (5 of 5 stars from the Financial Times, 10/10 from Raw Meat, inclusion on the New York Times' "Playlist" and the playlist of the NPR show "All Songs Considered"). Tagaq interviews are popping up on just about every music blog, including MTV's Iggy. These are just the bullet points from January.
Tagaq was in Maine for a concert at Bowdoin College, with inclement weather bearing down, when she heard the news. "I'm trapped in storm Juno in Maine, and found out Animism is nominated for three Juno's in Canada! Life is grand," she tweeted.
Back to those Juno nominations—the Aboriginal Album of the Year field is packed. Tagaq has never won a Juno, and neither has Cree playwright Tomson Highway, who's in the field for the soundtrack to his play The (Post)Mistress. But the other three nominated artists—Crystal Shawanda, Leela Gilday, and Digging Roots—are all past winners. In the Alternative Album category, Tagaq's disc is up against releases by Alvvays, Chad VanGaalen, July Talk, and Timber Timbre. It's hard to say which award Tagaq is more likely to win.
The Juno Awards ceremony will take place on March 15, on Hamilton, Ontario, and will be broadcast on CTV. For complete information, visit junoawards.ca.