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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.


Willie Thrasher - Spirit Child
You have to listen to this album. I think Willie Thrasher is a much overlooked artist. Now that Canada is doing a little better at celebrating its indigenous artists, I think that if Willie Thrasher put out this album today, it would be very well known. I just know that when I was at university and feeling very much alone, Willie had a special way of expressing what it was like to be an Inuk and being forced into these new ways of living. As far as I am concerned, the album exemplifies a little of the colonial process. The track 'Wolves Don't Live By The Rules' was just one of the songs from the album that says something to way I feel, when I am very frustrated and confronted with southern society – a society in which you have to be polite. Someone can be lying to your face and you can see in their eyes that they are lying, but you have to be polite and you cannot call them out on it. That was a culture shock for me and this album does a great job in nailing down what it feels like to go through this culture shock. The music is just Willie and his guitar, mostly. I have never met him, I wish I had. At the time of the album [1981], there was a lot of music being put out by Inuk artists but not a lot of it was being received well into the general consciousness. I own a compilation album - Native North America, Volume 1, which charts indigenous music from 1966 to 1985. It is very expansive and you should check it out. It is a great insight to the indigenous music scene, before it was commonly celebrated in southern Canada.