Tanya Tagaq

Supercrawl, Hamilton ON, September 10

Photo: Atsuko Kobasigawa

BY Ava MuirPublished Sep 11, 2017

As the sun set on the third and final day of Supercrawl (September 10), a sizeable crowd gathered to witness the transcendent experience that is Inuk throat singing experimentalist Tanya Tagaq live. Following a lengthy sound check (that she graciously apologized for), Tagaq took to the stage holding a pair of seal skin shoes that had been gifted to her by her mother and expressed her support of the seal hunt — an integral tradition of her culture that has provided for generations past and present. She demonstrated laudable boldness in prefacing her set by tastefully bringing awareness to an important issue.
While Tagaq's speaking voice was soft and demure, her improvised performance provided stark contrast, transforming her vocals into guttural growls, shrill wails and ferocious roars. The accompaniment of drummer Jean Martin, Theremin conductor/contributing vocalist Christine Duncan and Jesse Zubot on violin amplified the force of Tagaq's throat singing.
As the performance ended and the enraptured audience came out of the spell that Tagaq had cast over them, she also transformed back into her warm, congenial self. "I completely forgot I was here!" she exclaimed. "You felt so good. Thank you. My heart is so happy."

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