Photos: #Polaris2014

Tanya Tagaq takes home the prize in a night full of outstanding musical moments.

After a mesmerizing, powerful performance last night, Inuk artist Tanya Tagaq was crowned the winner of the 2014 Polaris Music Prize for her album Animism. She beat out fellow shortlisters Arcade Fire, Owen Pallett, Basia Bulat, Mac DeMarco, Jessy Lanza, Drake, Timber Timbre, and YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN. Her closing performance left attendees jaws dropped on the floor and incited the only standing ovation of the evening.

Canadian actor Jay Baruchel played host at The Carlu in downtown Toronto with local cover band all-stars Dwayne Gretzky providing pleasant musical segues between performers. It was a great night for Canadian music with performances from Owen Pallett, Mac DeMarco, Basia Bulat, Jessy Lanza, and Shad.

Check out some highlights from last night’s Polaris Music Prize gala below:

(original press release published on polarismusicprize.ca)

Tanya Tagaq has won the 2013 Polaris Music Prize for her album Animism besting the nine other albums on the Polaris Short List.

The Inuk throat singer performed an intense version of her song “Uja” accompanied by a 40-member choir during the Polaris Gala.

“We’ve been doing it our own way without backing down artistically or conforming, so to be recognized in this way and have so many people latch on makes me feel the world is tolerable,” said Tagaq in a statement. “There’s so much hurt in the world and within indigenous cultures with colonialism. Canada is in a desperate need for repair and I think a lot of people are tired of living this way and just to have people understand where we’re coming from makes me have hope that we can move forward and expose the true history of Canada.”

TanyaTagaq-Animism

The Prize, which goes to the best Canadian album of the year based on “artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation,” was determined by a Grand Jury of 11 music media professionals drawn from the greater Polaris jury pool of over 200 writers, editors, broadcasters, DJs and personalities from across the country.

Held at the historic Carlu in downtown Toronto, the evening featured performances by six of the 10 nominees, including Basia Bulat, Mac DeMarco, Jessy Lanza, Owen Pallett, Shad and Tanya Tagaq. Members of Arcade Fire, Timber Timbre and YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN were also in attendance. Presenters at the Gala included a double-duty pulling Pallett, fellow musicians Geoff Berner and Tasseomancy as well as 2014 Giller Long Listed author Sean Michaels, plus journalists Anupa Mistry, Sarah Liss, Ty Harper and Richard Trapunski.

The host for the evening was actor/comedian Jay Baruchel who riffed on his love of William Shatner’s Tek Wars and The Moffatts, amongst other things.

The 2014 Polaris Music Prize Short List was:

Arcade Fire — Reflektor
Basia Bulat — Tall Tall Shadow
Mac DeMarco — Salad Days
Drake — Nothing Was The Same
Jessy Lanza — Pull My Hair Back
Owen Pallett — In Conflict
Shad — Flying Colours
Tanya Tagaq — Animism
Timber Timbre — Hot Dreams
YAMANTAKA // SONIC TITAN — UZU

The Grand Jury who decided the winner included Adam Bowie (Daily Gleaner), Lorraine Carpenter (CultMTL), Stephen Cooke (Chronicle Herald), Jessica Émond-Ferrat (Journal Métro), Luke Fox (Exclaim), Liisa Ladouceur (Freelance), Melody Lau (Much), Julia LeConte (NOW), Stephanie McKay (Star Phoenix), Alan Ranta (Freelance) and Mark Teo (AUX)

The prize’s past winners have included Godspeed You! Black Emperor (2013), Feist (2012), Arcade Fire (2011), Karkwa (2010), Fucked Up (2009), Caribou (2008), Patrick Watson (2007) and Final Fantasy (Owen Pallett) (2006).