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Concert Photography, Music

Photos/Recap: 2016 Polaris Music Prize Gala – Kaytranada, Carly Rae Jepsen, White Lung

By: Jaime Espinoza, & Elaisha Green (@elaishajade) – 

Kaytranada at the 2016 Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto on September 20, 2016. (Photo: Jaime Espinoza/Aesthetic Magazine)

Kaytranada at the 2016 Polaris Music Prize gala in Toronto on September 20, 2016. (Photo: Jaime Espinoza/Aesthetic Magazine)

It seemed Montreal producer Kaytranada had not prepared a speech. The Haitian-Canadian winner of the 2016 Polaris Music Prize jumped between speaking in French and English when he briefly addressed and thanked the audience. The 24-year old’s win for his studio album, 99.9% was announced by folk singer and 2015 Polaris Music Prize winner Buffy Sainte-Marie at The Carlu in Toronto last night.

International and local critics hailed the album and the calibre of Canadian R&B, Hip-Hop and Rap 2016 releases. Artists like Majid Jordan, Drake and the Weeknd who saw commercial success made the Polaris Music Prize 2016 long-list but not the shortlist. The prize winner, however, was not determined by record sales or label affiliation in mind.

Polaris Prize judges deliberated in secret, while nominees Black Mountain, Carly Rae Jepsen, Jessy Lanza, U.S. Girls, Andy Shauf, White Lung and Basia Bulat took the stage and performed. After each set, the nominees received support through a video message from a surprise guest. The well-produced clips included ‘Stranger Things’ actor Finn Wolfard, who supported Pup. Iggy Pop stated, “There’s a spiky edge from the lyrics. You can tell they came from within,” about U.S. Girls’ album, Half Free. Critics and social media mavens alike claimed the 2016 Polaris Music Prize was the year of the woman, with seven out of ten nominated acts fronted by women.

Jepsen and Bulat were both supported by members of the Toronto Symphony Orchestra for their performances. Social media darling, Jepson sang Emotion tune, ‘Your Type’ while Bulat belted through and poured over an autoharp in her set. In their video messages, British Singer-songwriter Dev Hynes (known as Blood Orange) advocated for Jepsen and ‘Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants’ actress Amber Tamblyn, stated that punk band White Lung, “…has one foot firmly in the past and one foot firmly in the future.”

The Carlu’s stage welcomed Lanza’s pop-feel and Black Mountain’s trippy light show. Regina native, Shauf showed a penchant for 70s styled suits and rhythms with his moody and melodic set. Supported by a trio of clarinets and a three piece band his voice carried over his guitar earnestly for one of the best performances of the night. U.S. Girls’ performance was the most unique. A trio of doo-wop singers fronted by Meghan Remy brought Half Free tunes to life.

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Kaytranada
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Carly Rae Jepsen
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White Lung 
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Basia Bulat 
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Jessy Lanza
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Andy Shauf
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Black Mountain 
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U.S. Girls 
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