Artistic worlds collide in Tanya Tagaq’s first remix collection, Tongues North Star Remixes, inspired by songs from her recent album Tongues. Remix artists Kronos Quartet, Ash Koosha, Daedelus, The Halluci Nation, Chad Van Gaalen and July Talk are all repeat collaborators from Tagaq’s many stage, studio and video projects, while Backxwash and Dave Parley are both first-time collaborators. Tongues North Star Remixes expands on Tongues, Tagaq’s explicit musical manifesto, to defy gravity and genre alike.


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When I met Tanya over a decade ago, I could not wait to collaborate. She was working with my husband Jeffrey Zeigler and the Kronos Quartet in Austria. I remember a late night with Howard Zinn; her brilliance captured everyone. Howard and I were smitten.

“In Me” felt like the right time – the perfect collaboration born out of trust and friendship between the three of us (Jeff, me and T) – and this kind of bond cannot be forged. It needs time. And it seems that time is not a luxury that our contemporary world affords. In order to truly collaborate across cultures one needs to ask how they are entering a space and how they are exiting. What they can bring to the table and how to listen, credit, and learn. In light of this, I have been thinking a lot about cultural sovereignty – whose culture is protected? How do we make space for the evolution of contemporary practice while capturing and recalibrating the losses that have been suffered?

I have learned so much about Tanya through her music and activism, and this piece, with its visceral lyrics and the understanding that the land speaks first resonated deeply with me. What does it mean to subsist off the land and then be told that it is not right? Tanya demands one listens and rethink their judgement, and through the urgency of her voice and composition a painting of the land and the rights of its people and their traditions is invoked. In my reimagining, the solo cello “channels” Tanya through rapid alternations of high and low notes, wide glissandos and tremolos, while the string orchestra adds its own evocative sounds, inspired by her multiphonic vocals and the electronic effects on the recording. Protecting cultural value is our task as human beings. It’s a joy to be a small part of Tanya’s story, imagination, and passion.

Written by Paola Prestini