In 2014, Tagaq sent shockwaves through the music world with Animism. The album’s Polaris Music Prize victory disrupted the music industry and contributed to a change in conversation about Indigenous artists. The follow-up, 2017’s Retribution, brought Tagaq’s inimitable and powerful artistic vision to even broader audiences.
Tagaq’s improvisational approach lends itself to collaboration across genres and forms. Her work includes numerous guest vocal appearances (Buffy Sainte-Marie, Weaves, A Tribe Called Red, Fucked Up), original avant-garde classical compositions (Kronos Quartet, Toronto Symphony Orchestra), commissions (National Maritime Museum in London, UK) and more.
In its many forms, Tanya Tagaq’s art challenges static ideas of genre and culture, and contends with themes of environmentalism, human rights and post-colonial issues. In interviews, Tagaq stresses the importance of considering her work in the context of contemporary – not traditional – art. This statement is not just about sound, although her music is decidedly modern and technically intricate, but about deep-rooted assumptions about indigenous culture in general.