Tanya Tagaq is an Inuit rock star, in that she brings her traditional sound into contemporary time. She combines musical traditions from her Inuit identity with methods and melodies from punk and metal, creating a species of sound all her own. Tagaq has performed around the world and collaborated with household names like Björk, and she now comes to the Lensic stage to perform an auditory revision of the 1922 silent film Nanook of the North, presented by SITE Santa Fe. The film, directed by Robert J Flaherty, is often called a documentary and hailed as the first of its kind, but is truly more of a docu-drama featuring staged scenes that weren’t true to the Inuit way of life. “It was a lot of people’s first introduction to the Inuit people,” Tagaq says, “and it includes a lot of stereotypes, so it’s interesting to have a contemporary soundtrack done by an Inuit person.”
The film plays on screen while Tagaq sings and dances to create the live soundtrack. "People shouldn't come unless they want to see something different," she says. Tagaq tells SFR her performance differs from traditional throat singing, usually a friendly competition between two women who stand face to face in a call and response dialogue. "It's a very improvised, stream-of-consciousness kind of piece," she says of her solo performance. Tagaq is accompanied by percussionist Jean Martin and violinist Jesse Zubot in her reclamation performance and, she says, "they are both masters, so sensitive and so incredible. I am really lucky to be working with them, they are like family."
Beyond expressing the truth of her Inuit identity, Tagaq wants to communicate human identity overall. "I love touching on common denominators in our human experience, concentrating on our root emotions and experiences. Simple things, like we are all living and we are all going to die; like experiencing exalted joy, and anger, and jealousy. Sometimes, I feel we live in a world where emotion is oppressed and, through that, people have become anxious and insecure or unsure," the performance artist says. "There is a loss of reality." And when Tagaq dances and sings, she attempts to find it. (Maria Egolf-Romero)
Tanya Tagaq; Nanook of the North:
7:30 pm Monday Aug. 29. $49.
Lensic Performing Arts Center,
211 W San Francisco St.,
Rereading American literary canon staples like
The Scarlet Letter
after the force-feeding of high school is one way to gain to new insight. Better yet, spend the time on Mark Beauregard’s deep dive into the relationship of the men who wrote them. He’s bound to turn a few heads with a well-researched and compelling—albeit fictionalized—account of an intense romantic intimacy between Nathaniel Hawthorne and Herman Melville in his new novel,
The Whale: A Love Story
. The Tucson-based author relied on historical documents such as letters and journals to replay the relationship and emphasize how Melville’s passion poured into his epic novel. (Julie Ann Grimm)
The Whale: A Love Story Reading:
6 pm Wednesday Aug. 24. Free.
202 Galisteo St.,
“We’re calling it a re-grand opening because it’s an opportunity to introduce new artists and to introduce Thais [Mather] and myself as owners,” artist/new gallery owner Todd White tells SFR of big changes at the Davis Mather Folk Art Gallery. For 38 years, the space has been the go-to business for fans of folk art and White, who recently married Thais, could not be more excited to carry on the family legacy and debut the new direction at the re-opening this Friday evening. “We’re also looking to find and carry new artists and to connect to a wider audience,” White adds. (Alex De Vore)
Davis Mather Folk Art Gallery Grand Re-Opening:
5 pm Friday Aug. 26. Free.
Davis Mather Folk Art Gallery,
141 Lincoln Ave.,
Shine a Light
In his 2005 documentary,
I Know I'm Not Alone
, singer-songwriter/rapper/activist Michael Franti traveled to the embattled Middle East to examine the human toll of war. Flash forward more than a decade, and Franti is still on a mission for peace. “Most people leave one of his shows feeling like they matter,” AMP Concerts’ Jamie Lenfestey says. “You leave a Franti show feeling empowered and hopeful.” For his upcoming show at the Santa Fe Opera, Franti appears alongside Mexican-American songstress Lila Downs. A portion of the proceeds benefit Creativity For Peace, a local nonprofit that trains Israeli and Palestinian women to work in peace-seeking fields. (ADV)
Michael Franti and Lila Downs:
6:30 pm Sunday Aug. 28. $51-$69.
Santa Fe Opera,
301 Opera Drive,