The 2013 Shadow Polaris Goes to A Tribe Called Red
By now, everyone has heard that the 2013 Polaris Prize went to Godspeed You! Black Emperor for their album “‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!“.
After 4 rounds of voting though, NxEW readers chose Ottawa’s A Tribe Called Red for their second album “Nation II Nation“. Since the first time I heard this group, I was amazed by what they had done. In a business where most people are looking for a new thing and the next big sound, they have taken something incredibly old and delivered it to a new audience in a fresh package.
Far beyond sampling old recordings the band has taken music, much of which predates the European conquest of the Americas and turned it into popular dubstep recordings. If you had said, just a few years ago, that 20 somethings in clubs would be dancing to aboriginal pow wow music you would have had a hard time finding anyone who would believe you. That this comes at a time when the struggles of first nations communities are in the news on a regular basis adds to the timeliness of the recordings. It is doubtful that the music has any special significance for most of the young people who dance to it, but perhaps it will stimulate curiosity in at least a few.
So, although we have no gala or big check to offer I’m very pleased to award (what will probably be the last) Shadow Polaris award to A Tribe Called Red. Here, in case you haven’t already heard it, is Nation II Nation: