Ten years ago music fans and industry players alike gathered in the Phoenix Concert Theatre for the very first Polaris Music Prize. By all accounts it was a wild night, with plenty of alcohol imbibed by the very vocal crowd. Owen Pallett won that year for his Final Fantasy album He Poos Clouds and a tradition was born.
The 2015 Polaris Music Prize awards gala took place last night, celebrating its tenth year. Now taking place in the glitzy Carlu, replete with all the bells and whistles of a major media awards show, the event honoured the work of 10 musical artists, with albums released over the past year (give or take). Performances by Alvvays, Jennifer Castle, the band formerly known as Viet Cong, and the big winner Buffy Sainte-Marie were the high points of the night.
As always, the presenters spoke in long-form about the socio-political nature of the albums and the overall significance of the artists – which enforced the overall serious vibe of the event. Make no bones about it, the Polaris takes itself and the music it celebrates seriously – and that’s a good thing.
Offsetting the mood this year was Fred Penner who hosted and kept things light with his musical medley of past winners.
Buffy Sainte-Marie was given the award at the end of the night and pretty much summed everything up when she said “the biggest difference between Power in the Blood and other albums that I’ve made that have always been very diverse…is that this one got heard”. The fact that her music is still resonating so much in 2015 made her a deserving winner on a great night celebrating Canadian music.
WATCH THE VIDEO HIGHLIGHTS ABOVE
2015 Polaris Music Prize Short List
Alvvays – Alvvays
BadBadNotGood & Ghostface Killah – Sour Soul
Braids – Deep in the Iris
Buffy Sainte-Marie – Power in the Blood
Caribou – Our Love
Jennifer Castle – Pink City
Drake – If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon
The New Pornographers – Brill Bruisers
Viet Cong – Viet Cong