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Baker's Dozen

Northern Uproar: Tanya Tagaq's Favourite Albums
John Freeman , November 30th, 2016 10:06

With the release of her phenomenal new album, Retribution, the Inuit throat singer talks to John Freeman about the albums that make her laugh and cry. And laugh some more.


Pixies - Wave Of Mutilation: Best Of Pixies
I am sorry but I am going to have this compilation. I cannot narrow it down to one album as there is too much about Pixies that I love. The things that gets me about Pixies is that if you actually listen to them properly, they are very, very competent musicians. The arrangements, the way they interact with each other, they are all incredibly proficient. They have a balance within their language that I appreciate so much. People can swoon over classical music but that is a single composer creating a landscape. This band works together and there isn't anyone fighting sonically for space. There is lots of space given to each other and they 'pass the ball' between each other perfectly. Their timing is impeccable, their language is impeccable and they are my very favourite band. What was it like to cover one of your favourite band's songs – as you did with 'Caribou' on Animism? Well, I have to say I was laughing my ass off the whole time I was recording. I remember the first time I heard that song, I couldn't believe someone was singing about caribou, because we grew up around them. To do a cover, as someone who has hunted and eaten caribou, I found very, very funny. I often feel with covers, if you are going to do the same thing, there is no point. May I ask you about another of your cover versions, 'Rape Me' by Nirvana, which features on Retribution? How did you approach the song from a female perspective? Well, I was going to cover it in a very aggressive and angry way. But, when we pressed 'record' it didn't come out like that at all, as I was singing from a first person perspective, as opposed to the third person perspective. I hope Kurt Cobain would like what I did, as I know he wrote it as an anti-rape song. I really wanted to outline what it is like being a woman today. It was interesting – when I was large and pregnant, I was invisible and almost safe. As soon as I get into shape, I get men approaching me on the street, men talking about my appearance and I cannot get into a cab without being asked if I have a husband. There are sexual assaults happening every minute of every day and, on top of that, in Canada my daughters and I are four times more likely to be murdered than women from other ethnicities. I just felt that all needing addressing and my cover of 'Rape Me' was a way of pinpointing what women have to put up with - and the desire to try and make a safer world for my daughters.