Spun: Tanya Tagaq

Tanya Tagaq is “the Jimi Hendrix of throat singers,” according to David Harrington of the Kronos Quartet. If you failed to catch Tagaq’s recent Calgary performance with Kronos, Sinaa demonstrates how Tagaq redefines the human voice just as Hendrix redefined the electric guitar.

While Inuit throat singing is traditionally a call and response game played by two women, Tagaq breaks the norm by performing alone. She stretches the barriers of the human voice as she pants, growls, chirps and buzzes her way through a wide variety of weird and wonderful pieces.

The entire affair has an undeniable sexual overtone as her noise making increases in tempo and intensity resulting in breathy climaxes. A rare lyric is found on “Still,” where Tagaq repeats the single phrase, “I push deeper.”

On “Ancestors,” Björk adds her voice to the mix, providing a melodic contrast to Tagaq’s bestial sounds. Minimalist piano chords anchor the improvised vocality of the two women.

While Sinaa is not for everyone, adventurous listeners are encouraged to pick up this disc and explore Tagaq’s wild kingdom.

..Ken Clarke

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