Tanya Tagaq @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

Tanya Tagaq
Tanya Tagaq @ Phoenix Concert Theatre

. : : April 20th, 2017 : : .

Arguably the biggest draw of the night, the crowd was now at capacity and stood shoulder-to-shoulder for the third performer of the evening, Canadian Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq.

This observation would be much less note-worthy if Tanya wasn’t constantly contextualized with phrases like “Experimental vocalist” and “Avant-garde” — hardly large selling points for the masses.

Check Apple Music, Spotify, YouTube Music, or your local record store for an Inuk Throat Singing genre — you probably won’t find it represented anywhere. So, what is it about Tanya that has managed to find cross-over success, earning her feature pieces on 60 Minutes, NPR, the New Yorker, the Washington Post and the Guardian?

I won’t pretend to be qualified to throw my opinion out there, but the fact remains: Tanya’s a hit. Her albums have won Juno Awards, the 2014 Polaris Music Prize, Canadian Folk Music and Western Canadian Music Awards. Her debut novel, Split Tooth, similarly was well regarded: it was shortlisted for the 2019 Amazon First Novel Award and won the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Prose in English.

She’s going to need a bigger trophy case.