Last night, the Polaris Music Prize, a not-for-profit organization that honours and rewards excellence in Canadian music production. Founded by Steve Jordan, a former A&R executive with Warner Music Canada, the annual event hosts performances by amazing Canadian musicians and selects one winner, regardless of genre, for the prestigious, aptly named award — the Polaris Music Prize.
This year, hosted at Toronto’s infamous Carlu venue, Lido Pimienta was presented the award for her album, La Papessa, by last year’s winner, Kaytranada. Pimienta won arguably the most reputable Canadian music award in the company of some fine nominees — Leonard Cohen, BADBADNOTGOOD, A Tribe Called Red and Gord Downie, to name a few. In addition to the $50,000 prize, Pimienta had the opportunity to share her thoughts on her album, which translates to “high priestess,” and all that it means to her.
Having moved here from Columbia a decade ago, and building her career without a manager, Pimienta said, “I am very proud to be here because I work really hard.”
The album speaks on a lot of things: Her brother’s 2013 passing, the patriarchy and the racism she’s faced in Canada. Speaking on the latter, with her mother and son by her side, she said,
“Perhaps the only thing I can say is I hope the Aryan specimen who told me to go back to my own country, two weeks after I arrived in London, Ontario, Canada, is watching this.”
You can watch Pimienta’s performance below.
In an equally powerful statement, Polaris shortlist musician Tanya Tagaq took to the stage for a performance-art piece in support of the Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women and Girls (#MMIWG) movement.
This year, Polaris Music Prize, especially where performances were concerned, was really a celebration of women and diversity within the female Canadian population. That said, Leif Vollebekk, who was shortlisted for his album, Twin Solitude, performed his song “All Night Sedans.” See below for his impassioned piano performance.