Monday, September 21, 2015

Buffy Sainte-Marie Wins 2015 Polaris Music Prize

I'm happy to share the following from the website of the Polaris Music Prize.

Buffy Sainte-Marie has won the 2015 Polaris Music Prize for the album Power In The Blood, besting the nine other albums on the Polaris Short List.

Sainte-Marie performed the songs "Power In The Blood" and "Carry It On" [see below] during her Polaris Gala set.

The Prize, which goes to the best Canadian album of the year based on "artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation," was determined by a Grand Jury of 11 music media professionals drawn from the greater Polaris jury pool of roughly 200 writers, editors, broadcasters, DJs and personalities from across the country.

The 2015 Polaris Music Prize Short List was:

BADBADNOTGOOD and Ghostface KillahSour Soul
BraidsDeep In The Iris
CaribouOur Love
Jennifer CastlePink City
DrakeIf You’re Reading This It’s Too Late
Tobias Jesso Jr.Goon
The New PornographersBrill Bruisers
Buffy Sainte-MariePower In The Blood
Viet CongViet Cong

Congratulations, Buffy!

Above: Buffy at this evening's Polaris Prize gala,
held at the historic Carlu in downtown Toronto.

Reports Billboard magazine:

The 2015 Polaris Music Prize awards began with Buffy Sainte-Marie when she opened the gala awards show in Toronto with two songs, and ended with her album, Power In the Blood, declared the Canadian album of the year.

. . . “I bought everybody’s album and listened to every cut; they’re all so good,” a beaming Saint-Marie said from the stage. “Thank you all so very much. And to the Polaris Prize in general. Just the idea that it’s all genres; it has nothing to do with record sales so there’s no payola. I’ve got an Academy Award and a Golden Globe and a couple Junos and a Gemini Award — this is the only one I’ve ever heard that gives the artist money.

“It’s real important,” she explained, “because it’s become almost impossible for an artist to tour with a band and with instruments. The airlines are just killing us . . . It’s getting so hard to travel now for high school and college sports and music programs with their instruments and their gear . . . so I’m asking the music community, please put your heads into that and figure out a way so not only arts, but also sports can be supported.”

Sainte-Marie is a long-time activist, dating back 50 years, and often uses her time in the spotlight to highlight causes and issues, including Native rights, war and peace, and government greed, which also inspire her songs. Her anti-war anthem “Universal Soldier” has been covered by everyone from Donovan to Chumbawamba and Jake Bugg, and addiction confessional “Cod’ine” by Donovan, Janis Joplin and Courtney Love.

Her new album, Power in the Blood, includes the title track, which is her spin on the Alabama 3 song, and UB40’s “Sing Your Own Song.” She also rerecorded “It’s My Way” from her 1964 album of the same name that prompted Billboard to name her Best New Artist five decades ago.

“The biggest difference between Power In The Blood and other albums that I made . . . is that this one got heard,” she added, thanking her record label True North, management Paquin Entertainment, and her three producers, Chris Burkett, Michael Phillip Wojewoda and Jon Levine.

One of the two songs that Buffy performed tonight at the Polaris gala was "Carry It On," which is actually a reworked version of her 1976 song "Look At the Facts." About "Carry It On," Buffy said the following in a July 2015 interview:

[In my song "Carry It On"] I’m just pointing out that we live in this incredible world and yet, because of human boneheadedness, we are under threat of shooting ourselves in the foot. It’s not something to be afraid of. It’s something just to step up to. You know, it’s like doing the dishes; you’ve got to do it all the time or it piles up on you. I know that it's down home and folksy, but that’s kind of my attitude to the world. I’m not a combatant, at all. I’m really into alternative ways of looking at things. It comes naturally to me to do so and then to try to pass that on to people who are being advertised to death and conned in every which way. Buy this, buy that. Life is simpler than that. . . . It isn’t money that makes the world go around. I really believe that. That is the corporate hallucination by which we are controlled. It’s not as if we have to get up in arms and go and fight the world. No. You don’t. No, no. Stay calm and decolonize.

Related Off-site Links:
2015 Polaris Prize Goes to Buffy Sainte-Marie — Along with $50,000 – Nick Patch (The Toronto Star, September 21, 2015).
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Power In the Blood Wins Album of the Year at 2015 Polaris Music Awards – Karen Bliss (Billboard, September 21, 2015).
Buffy Sainte-Marie Wins Polaris Music Prize – Josh O'Kane (The Globe and Mail, September 21, 2015).
Buffy Sainte-Marie Beats Drake to Win Polaris Music PrizeThe Guardian (September 22, 2015).
Oscar Winner Buffy Sainte-Marie Collects the 2015 Polaris Prize – Hugh McIntyre (Forbes, September 22, 2015).
Buffy Sainte-Marie Wins Canada’s Polaris Prize – Andrew Chow (The New York Times, September 22, 2015).
Singing Her Own Song for Decades, Buffy Sainte-Marie Picks Up Prestigious Prize – Deirdre Fulton (Common Dreams, September 22, 2015).
Q&A with Polaris Prize winner Buffy Sainte-Marie – June Chua (Daily Brew, September 23, 2015).
Buffy Sainte-Marie on Winning the Polaris Prize, Viet Cong, and Indigenous Activism – James Wilt (Vice, September 24, 2015).

For The Wild Reed's special series of posts leading-up to the May 12, 2015 release of Power in the Blood, see:
Buffy Sainte-Marie and That "Human-Being Magic"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Lesson from the Cutting Edge: "Go Where You Must to Grow"
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "Sometimes You Have to Be Content to Plant Good Seeds and Be Patient"
Buffy Sainte-Marie's Power in the Blood

For more of Buffy at The Wild Reed, see:
For Buffy Sainte-Marie, a Well-Deserved Honor
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Singing It and Praying It; Living It and Saying It
Buffy Sainte-Marie: Still Singing with Spirit, Joy, and Passion
Something Special for Indigenous Peoples Day
Buffy Sainte-Marie: "The Big Ones Get Away"

Recommended Off-site Links:
Blood on the Tracks: An Interview with Living Legend Buffy Sainte-Marie – Stephanie Wong Ken (Bitch Magazine, August 11, 2015).
Buffy Sainte-Marie is Still Doing It Her Way – Sue Zalokar (Street Roots News, July 10, 2015).
The Fierce, Childlike Creativity of Buffy Sainte-Marie – Jacob Blicenstaff (Mother Jones, July 9, 2015).
Buffy Sainte-Marie: It's Her Way – Jim Tobler (Montecristo Magazine, June 15, 2015).
Legendary Native American Singer-Songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie on Five Decades of Music and ActivismDemocracy Now! (May 22, 2015).

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