top of page
  • Cy White

Tanya Tagaq: Tongues


Wild, feral, fearless. What more can one expect from the woman who laid the jagged and breathy foundation of Bjork's 2001 ode to the untouched body, Medulla?

Tonya Tagaq demands with tongue and throat that you mind her, that you be wary of putting on pretense. She's a vocal beast, and she's on the hunt. One false move and she'll eat you alive. Though, whether that's something to fear or lust for is left for the hapless victim. That's all you are at the whims of her throat singing, her indigenous fire. You are but a wanderer in her lands. Here, you are the colonizer and must suffer whatever consequences she deems fit for your intrusion.

Tagaq gives birth to new lands, repopulating razed, raped and pillaged civilizations. "You can't have my tongue," she says defiantly, a warrior enchantress who spills magic like from her mouth like a sinner spills prayer. "I don't want your god," she continues. "I don't want your shame. It doesn't belong to me."

She is full of life and sex. Tongues is Tagaq's ode to the natural, the unlived in space between our imagination and reality. It is cold there yet full of an exciting, thrilling and frightening heat stemming from the physicality of her voice. This is a physical album. Engaging every sense like a fingernail across sensitized skin, hairs sticking up on your arms and the back of your neck., Ears buzzing with the warble, whine, moan an snarl of Tagaq's immeasurable vocal dexterity.

There are many words one can use to describe Tongues. However, the most apt of these, I think, is raw. Tough. This is the aural equivalent of going 12 rounds with a championship boxer. Jaws and teeth and lips bruised and busted and cracked. But at the end of your battle you emerge brand-new and full of a violent urge to scream the world back into some form of order.


bottom of page