This article is not about Tanya Tagaq, the remarkable Inuk experimental singer

Tanya Tagaq performed in Calgary at the Palace Theatre last week, but this article is NOT about her amazing event.

And for that matter, the video below has nothing in particular to do with her show: she didn’t mention Norman McLaren, nor the National Film Board; in fact she didn’t mention much at all.

I could easily have missed Inuit words during the orchestra of sound the brilliant trio onstage produced. But Inuit throat singing, like First Nations powwow singing, and other expressions of emotional truths, often do not convey their meaning through the symbols of language.

Neither does Neighbours, which is perhaps their closest resonance. Their other resonance, in the shaky, oppositional, reactionary times through which we move in 2024, occurred when Ms. Tagaq uttered some of the very few recognizable English words for a few powerful moments; language symbols not specifically represented in the also largely wordless animation,

but ones which are certainly there in the subtext, and stood out as some of the pain amongst her musical beauty:

“Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!
Fuck War!”

Posted by Carey Rutherford

Author: Carey Rutherford

Swallowed by the mutual loves of words and music (but far too chicken-shit to perform them with a band), Carey’s writing career started slowly as a freelance writer in 2003, starved him nearly to personal bankruptcy until 2008, and changed directions while writing for FastForward, Beacon Calgary, GayCalgary, and Examiner magazines. With the death of many old-school periodicals, and the explosion of musical diversity in Calgary, the modern approach to writing about live music performance in the Calgary region presented uncluttered landscapes for the focussed passion that Carey’s conversations with musicians, drag queens, festival producers and small animals has uncapped. He was moulded by the brilliance of paper-based periodicals old and new (Life, rolling Stone, Swerve! and Adbusters etc.), and sees the info-verse as needing creative, empathetic, but clear-eyed Agents to communicate these performances.

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