Tanya Tagaq admits that she’s feeling “soft” today. The light from the window illuminates her slightly bashful smile when she says that, lying on a couch in Montreal and holding a screen to her face as we Skype. In 2014, the Inuk musician and throat singer won Canada’s esteemed Polaris Music Prize for her fourth album, Animism. When we speak, she’s just a few weeks away from releasing its visceral follow-up, Retribution, her most political and devastating record yet. This is an album about rape—rape of women and children, and rape of the land and the environment.
“I wanted to draw a line with non-consensual land grabs and non-consensual, non-renewable resource development and the day-to-day horrors we inflict on each other and in particular, women,” Tagaq says. “That kind of violent, unscrupulous, and unethical way of dealing with what you want and what you can have.”