Laakkuluk Williamson Bathory [a Greenlandic mask performer with whom she collaborated on the video for “Retribution”] provided a really beautiful traditional Inuit story of Sedna [the Inuit goddess of the sea and marine animals] in that piece as well. So there’s a speaking element which I like.”
Most recently Kronos founder David Harrington commissioned Tagaq to compose a piece for the quartet’s Fifty For The Future project. “Quite often people don’t understand that with improvised music you’re composing every time you perform,”
says Tagaq of the piece “Sivunittinni (The Future Children)”. “I don’t read music so David had me record a vocal line for each violin and viola, so four vocal lines that worked off of each other and he had Jacob Garchik come in and notate it. I was really proud of that piece.”
Tagaq also had speaking and singing parts in the music for The Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s 75th anniversary production, Going Home Star. Composed by Christos Hatzis, it’s based on a painful story about the residential school programme. The minimal speaking role includes the following, blankly articulated: “The nuns would wake me in the middle of the night and drag me to a brightly lit room where I was made to repeat words over and over until I pronounced them correctly… I watched as the younger children were beaten… forced to eat food from the floor like dogs”.
Tagaq recalls: “I just went and gave my voice and Christos Hatzis had his way with it. And that’s also a nice thing to do – once you gift something to kind of let it go and see what other people are making
42 | The Wire | Tanya Tagaq