Tanya Tagaq Takes it Back

By Vish Khanna"I feel so strongly all the time, it actually screws me up.” Nunavut-bred Inuit throat singer Tanya Tagaq fields a question about the carnal fury within her singular performances but musical inquiries spur tangents about her whole life, as if breathing and expressing herself are inseparable. "I’m too sensitive and music is a plus that comes along with that, but there are a lot of negatives as well. I’m a fantastic lover and a passionate cook too, but I’m hurt very easily. But with music, I think that’s a good thing.”

Tagaq’s alluring new album Auk/Blood reflects conflict and compromise. Collaborating with more instrumentalists and vocalists than usual — including Mike Patton, Buck 65, and Jesse Zubot — she utilized the experience to assess her own creative focus. Beyond incorporating composition within her improvisational vocal approach, Tagaq anticipates less resignation in future works. "There wasn’t enough anger on this album; not enough balls, y’know? I’ve been overly passive lately and I tend to sway like a metronome; I hope I swing the other way soon.”If anything’s capable of boiling Tagaq’s blood, it’s the heaping cultural expectations she feels burdened with and the tingling sense of complicity in the brewing exploitation of her heritage.

"I swear to you, if I ever see throat singing in a Coca-Cola commercial with some girl dressed up like Britney Spears, I’m going to jump off a fucking bridge. I’m not shitting you,” Tagaq exclaims. "My music is everything I’ve accumulated day-to-day, since I was born, coming out. I love my culture so much but I don’t like having the responsibility of representing it because what I’m doing is so opposite the tradition. I wish people would just focus on the sound of it instead of picturing igloos or whatever.”
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Article Published In Sep 08 Issue