Polaris Music Prize finalist Zoon reflects on how picture book Weenipeg by Bill Ballantyne reminds him of home

The Polaris Prize finalist says "I chose it because there aren’t many books about my home territory."

Zoon is a finalist for his album Bleached Wavves

Zoon is the musical project of Anishinaabe experimental musician Daniel Monkman. (Vanessa Heins, Strong Nations)

Anishinaabe experimental musician Zoon is on the shortlist for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize with the alternative rock album Bleached Wavves.

The Polaris Music Prize annually celebrates the best Canadian album of the year, awarding the artist $50,000. There are 10 albums on the shortlist. The winner will be announced on Sept. 27, 2021.

Bleached Wavves is the debut album from Zoon. The project has been described by the artist as "moccasin-gaze," an experimental sound that features traditional First Nations music and guitar-driven ambient alt rock vibes.

Musician and recording artist Daniel Monkman goes by the name Zoon. Raised in Selkirk, Man., near Winnipeg, Monkman also spent time living on a Brokenhead Ojibway Nation reserve. Currently based in Ontario, the artist melds sounds from his Ojibway heritage with psychedelic rock sounds that reflect on his experiences with racism, trauma, substance abuse and healing. 

Zoon told CBC Books that a book he loved reading was the picture book Weenipeg by Cree author Bill Ballantyne.

A picture book that reflects identity and home

"The book I'm choosing is by Bill Ballantyne. It's called Weenipeg

"I chose it because there aren't many books about my home territory and I deeply respect Bill, who taught music at the reservation school I attended called Sargent Tommy Prince."

WATCH | CBC Music profiles Zoon:

Zoon | Bleached Wavves | Polaris Short List 2021

2 months ago
Zoon's Bleached Wavves is shortlisted for the 2021 Polaris Music Prize. 1:56

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