Kronos’ Fifty for the Future Composers

Tanya Tagaq - Canada

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About Sivunittinni

Video: Kronos' David Harrington and Sunny Yang demonstrate key techniques for Tanya Tagaq's Sivunittinni.

Tanya Tagaq and arranger Jacob Garchik provide detailed rehearsal instructions for Sivunittinni below:

Tanya Tagaq provides resources

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Sivunittinni Videos

Program Notes

About Sivunittinni, Tagaq writes:

Sivunittinni, or ‘the future ones,’ comes from a part of a poem I wrote for my album, and is the perfect title for this piece. My hope is to bring a little bit of the land to future musicians through this piece. There’s a disconnect in the human condition, a disconnect from nature, and it has caused a great deal of social anxiety and fear, as well as a lack of true meaning of health, and a lack of a relationship with what life is, so maybe this piece can be a little bit of a wake-up.

“Working with the Kronos Quartet has been an honour. We have a symbiosis that allows a lot of growth musically. They teach me so much, I can only hope to reciprocate. Kronos has gifted me the opportunity to take the sounds that live in my body and translate them into the body of instruments. This means so much because the world changes very quickly, and documenting allows future musicians to glean inspiration from our output.”

Tanya Tagaq's Sivunittinni was commissioned as part of the Kronos Performing Arts Association’s Fifty for the Future: The Kronos Learning Repertoire, which is made possible by a group of adventurous partners, including Carnegie Hall and many others.

Composition Process

For the composition of Sivunittinni, Tagaq first made several voice recordings, which were then transcribed and arranged for string quartet by Jacob Garchik. Hear Tagaq's original voice recordings here.

About Tanya Tagaq

“Indescribable” is not an appropriate word to begin an artist’s bio, nor is it suitable as a description of a musician. The problem is this: when Tanya Tagaq’s music fills your ears, she is genuinely one of those rare artists whose sounds and styles are truly groundbreaking. “Inuit throat singer” is one part of her sonic quotient. So are descriptions like “orchestral,” “hip-hop-infused,” and “primal,” but these words are not usually used collectively; in the case of Tagaq, however, they are.

So much has happened to Tagaq (b. 1977) since the release of her debut CD Sinaa (meaning “edge” in her ancestral language of Inuktitut) in 2005. The Nunavut-born singer has not just attracted the attention of some of the world’s most groundbreaking artists, they have invited her to participate on their own musical projects, not just singularly, but repeatedly. Tagaq has recently recorded once again with Björk (specifically on the soundtrack for the Matthew Barney film Drawing Restraint 9), having already appeared on Björk’s Medúlla CD in 2004 and accompanied her on the Vespertine tour. In 2007, another monumental collaborative project came to fruition when the Kronos Quartet invited Tagaq to participate—as co-writer and performer—on a project aptly titled Nunavut, which has been performed at select venues across North America, from its January 2008 debut at the Chan Centre in Vancouver, to New York’s Carnegie Hall. Acclaim and respect has followed Tagaq on her solo ventures as well: both Sinaa and Auk / Blood were nominated for Juno Awards (Best Aboriginal Recording and Best Instrumental Recording, respectively). Both recordings won in several categories at the Canadian Aboriginal Music Awards, including Best Female Artist.

Tagaq’s stunning video Tungijuq, on which she collaborated with Jesse Zubot and Montréal filmmakers Felix Lajeunesse and Paul Raphael, won the best short film award at the ImagiNative Film and Arts Festival, and screened at the Toronto International Film Festival (2009) and the Sundance Film Festival (2010). In 2014, her album Animism was awarded the Polaris Music Prize. In 2015, a recording of Derek Charke’s Tundra Songs, written for the Kronos Quartet and Tagaq was released.

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