September 22

The Polaris Prize@The Carlu-Mon., Sept.19th,2022

By Wayne Baggs

Polaris recognizes and markets albums of the highest artistic integrity, without regard to musical genre, “Lifting up artists is more important than ever and we are proud to support the groundbreaking music the Polaris nominees create,” said Gary Slaight, president, and CEO of Slaight Communications. The Polaris Music Prize is one of this country’s most prestigious music awards.

Hosted by CBC Music’s Angeline Tetteh-Wayoe, this year’s Polaris Gala was held at a stunning venue, The Carlu on Sept. 19th. The Gala was broadcast, and is still available, in Canada on the free CBC Gem, CBC Music’s Facebook, YouTube and Twitter pages, and globally at Nine of this year’s 10 shortlisted acts — Lisa LeBlanc, Hubert Lenoir, Kelly McMichael, Ombiigizi, Ouri, Shad, Snotty Nose Rez Kids, Charlotte Day Wilson and this year’s winner, Pierre Kwenders — took to the stage of the Carlu in Toronto to perform highlights from their nominated albums.

Cadence Weapon, winner of the 2021 Polaris Music Prize, also performed, as did Fresh Pepper, who did a cover of a song by Destroyer, this year’s 10th shortlister.. Pierre Kwenders graciously accepted the 2022 Polaris Music Prize for the album José Louis And The Paradox Of Love. The Congolese-Canadian’s third album was selected for the $50,000 prize by an 11-member grand jury, naming it the best Canadian album of the year based on its artistic merit. “José Louis and the Paradox Of Love” blends the dancefloor energy of Afro-Latin beats with influence from the music scene in Kwenders’ home in Montreal. Kwenders noted that “This is crazy. I don’t even know what to think. This is for all the kids from the diaspora, the African diaspora, moving to Canada. Sometimes you feel like you don’t know what you’re running into, or what you’re coming into. But there is hope, there is a place to live and dream and be yourself. This album, especially, is about being yourself and telling your own story. José Louis And The Paradox Of Love is there for you, you know if you feel you can connect, connect! Let’s talk! Let’s have fun! Let’s be ourselves! Let’s love each other while we are alive. Bisou!” A stellar evening celebrating an interestingly diverse collection of Canadian indie music. Kudos to Amber Moyle as the new executive director for a fabulously successful celebration of up-and-coming talent.

The 2022 Polaris Short List was:

Destroyer – Labyrinthitis
Pierre Kwenders – José Louis And The Paradox Of Love
Lisa Leblanc – Chiac Disco
Hubert Lenoir – Pictura de Ipse : Musique directe
Kelly McMichael – Waves
Ombiigizi – Sewn Back Together
Ouri – Frame of a Fauna
Shad – TAO
Snotty Nose Rez Kids – Life After
Charlotte Day Wilson – Alpha