On Monday night, a grand jury of 11 Polaris voters convened at the Carlu in Toronto, Ont. to decide the winner of this year’s big award, which is handed out every year to the best Canadian album of the year.
Dutcher, a Wolastoqiyik member of the Tobique First Nation in New Brunswick, beat out nine other albums for the $50,000 grand prize, including Daniel Caesar’s Freudian, U.S. Girls’ In a Poem Unlimited and Alvvays’ Antisocialites. He is the first east coast act to win the award in its 12 year history.
“This is the greatest moment of my life!” he exclaimed onstage as he accepted the award, which was presented to him by last year’s winner, Lido Pimienta.
Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa uses 100-year-old wax cylinder recordings of traditional Wolastoq songs, a language that is now only fluently spoken by less than 100 people, and is fused with Dutcher’s own musical interpretations that’s oftentimes operatic and orchestral. Many have said that this record is an act of preservation and in Dutcher’s speech at the gala, he echoes that sentiment.
“I do this work to honour those who have gone before and I lay the footprints for those yet to come,” he says. “Canada, you are in the midst of an Indigenous renaissance. Are you ready to hear the truths that need to be told? Are you ready to see the things that need to be seen?”
The Polaris Music Prize is a not-for-profit organization that annually honours and rewards artists who produce Canadian music albums of distinction. A select panel of music critics judge and award the Prize without regard to musical genre or commercial popularity.
On September 17 the winner will be announced at a Gala taking place at the Carlu in Toronto at 8 p.m. You can catch the live streaming on CBC Music.
Leading up to this event, right now, at Cheeky Monkey when you purchase a CD or LP by any of the 10 finalists, you will get FREE a 10 inches EP of POLARIS COVER SESSIONS NO. 4. This is while supplies last and with purchase of in-store product only.
The 10 Finalist albums are…
Alvvays – Antisocialites
Daniel Caesar – Freudian
Hubert Lenoir – Darlène
Jean-Michel Blais – Dans ma main
Jeremy Dutcher – Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa
Partner – In Search Of Lost Time
Pierre Kwenders – MAKANDA at the End of Space, the Beginning of Time
Snotty Nose Rez Kids – The Average Savage
U.S. Girls – In A Poem Unlimited
Weaves – Wide Open