Tanya Tagaq's latest album is finely crafted and in CBC host Bruce Ladan's words, "it's a work of art." A huge fan of the Pixies, Tagaq opens the album with a cover song of theirs called Caribou.
The new recording is called Animism because according to Tagaq, animism is an idea where not only humans have a spiritual entity in them but animals do, too.
'My general facade of a persona is very loud and boisterous but I'm actually incredibly shy inside and I have to protect that.' - Tanya Tagaq
"Quite often I glean information from nature and apply it to patterns in humans," she explained. "You can almost always simplify somebody's actions down to nature."
"People have really lost so much of their instinctual powers by being stuck inside four walls and also confined within society," she maintained. "When I start worrying too much about stupid things, I need to go home, relax out on the land and just be happy with who I am."
Tagaq uses her singing voice for the first time on this album. She also improvises a lot. She says when she is creating, an idea will percolate for a long period of time.
"Then, without trying to control anything," she continued, "a melody will come through. It comes when it wants to come, in the middle of the night or when I'm running or when I'm looking at my baby. I can't ever seem to control it."
She admits that sometimes she'll have nothing for a year then at other times it will come pouring in. She says she is prolific when she is open.
"I'm open when I'm taking care of myself," she said. "I'm open when I'm healthy and I have my doors open. When I'm in a self-protection mode those doors close."
"I'm so sensitive that I have to be very very careful. My general facade of a persona is very loud and boisterous but I'm actually incredibly shy inside and I have to protect that."
"I remember when I was five or six years old and we were out at the cabin," she continued. "I was digging this sand pit. I was feeling all the energy in the different rocks. All of a sudden I felt like I almost didn't exist but there was a pillar that went really far into the earth and really high up into the clouds. I could suck energy in either way or put it out either way."
Tagaq still experiences that kind of energy today when she is making music. Yet during live shows she draws a certain energy from the audience.
"This big circle of energy starts," she said. "The audience doesn't realize that I am going because of them. But they are the horse pulling the cart. They're the propulsion. They're the jet engines. I never tell people that because I don't want them to feel pressure but that's what happens every single concert."
Hear Tanya Tagaq in concert with the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra on Friday and Saturday night, May 2 and 3 starting at 8 p.m. at the Centennial Concert Hall in Winnipeg. Also hear her in conversation with host Bruce Ladan on SCENE on May 3. The show airs every Saturday from 5 - 6 p.m. on CBC Radio One, 89.3 FM/990 AM/97.9 FM in Brandon, or listen live online from 5 - 6 p.m. CST.