A powerful statement against centuries of colonisation aimed directly at the perpetrators, Canadian avant-garde artist Tanya Tagaq has shared her latest single ‘Colonizer’. Taken from her recent album Tongues, on which she explored themes of social and political exploitation with distinctive flair, the track is a commanding, brutal listen that reduces five hundred years of colonising history into four words: “Oh. You’re. Guilty. Colonizer.”
An award-winning improvisational singer, composer and best-selling author from Ikaluktutiak, Tagaq’s work has been recognised by the Order of Canada, Polaris Music Prize and the JUNO Awards. Described as “an original disruptor,” she confronts the horrors of inequality on a global and personal scale, seeking to erode the foundations of unjust systems through her pulverizing soundscapes, elastic vocals and spoken word. Her latest track ‘Colonizer’ epitomises these talents. Punctuated by Tagaq’s gasps for breath and the lyrical mantra “Oh. You’re. Guilty. Colonizer,” it ripples with righteous anger and defiance.
“Everyone is responsible for the system that is in place right now; those who benefit from the genocide of Indigenous people are still guilty,” Tagaq told The Line of Best Fit in a recent interview. She’s enhanced her message further in the potent accompanying video for ‘Colonizer’. Directed by Leah Fay Goldstein and Peter Dreimanis, the footage shows the destruction of the symbols and the perpetrators of the residential school system. You can donate to the Indian Residential School Survivors Society featured in the visuals here.
Watch the video for ‘Colonizer’ below.