Tanya Tagaq talks about her Nanook of the

Tanya Tagaq dishes on Nanook of the North


Tanya Tagaq’s new show uses her intense vocals, based on Inuit throat singing, to make a new musical score for Robert Flaherty’s 1922 ethnographic film Nanook of the North,

But Tagaq doesn’t want to bash Flaherty too much, noting that in 1922 society was more racist. “It’s just how it was back then, we (the Inuit) were definitely at the back of the bus.” Despite this, Tagaq doesn’t doubt Flaherty’s affection for the Inuit. “In fact, he was fucking one of the characters,” she points out with a laugh.

Tagaq will perform tonight’s sold-out show at the Yukon Arts Centre with Polaris Prize collaborators, violinist Jesse Zubot and drummer Jean Martin (who captured sounds from the Nunavut landscape to introduce into the show).

Many people don’t understand but in order to ethically colonize North America on slaves and genocide, there had to be this mindset that we were beneath, that we were godless. A lot of people don’t realize that’s the roots (of racism). This is a chance to examine that.

Tanya Tagaq talks about her Nanook of the North show

Tanya Tagaq talks about her performance to Robert Flaherty’s 1922 ethnographic film
Nanook of the North at the Available Light Film Festival industry forum, Feb. 9, 2015.