TORONTO – Two powerhouses of Canada’s indigenous music scene have lifted the curtain on a new collaboration.
Buffy Sainte-Marie and Tanya Tagaq paired for the track “You Got To Run (Spirit Of The Wind),” which has debuted online.
Sainte-Marie wrote the song about Alaskan dog sled racer George Attla who placed fourth in the inaugural Iditarod in 1973.
His story was retold in the 1979 film “Spirit of the Wind,” which was scored by Sainte-Marie. She reinterpreted the film’s theme song into the version she performs with Tagaq.
The singers joined together as part of a series of collaborations organized by the brain trust behind the Polaris Music Prize.
Both Sainte-Marie and Tagaq are former Polaris winners.
Sainte-Marie grabbed the 2015 award for “Power in the Blood” while throat singer Tagaq’s album “Animism” won a year earlier.
Tagaq says the song’s theme suggests “you can’t let things bring you down,” which she says could also be interpreted as an anti-suicide message.
Canada’s indigenous communities have been wracked by youth suicides amid calls for action to address the crisis.
A podcast about the song, hosted by Polaris, features Sainte-Marie telling Tagaq about lyrics she was forced to cut in the new version to keep it a certain length.
“We’re going to make a longer version too,” she assures Tagaq.
Listen to “You Got To Run (Spirit Of The Wind)”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=o5zb0WTSLsY&feature=youtu.be
Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version said George Attla won the inaugural Iditarod in 1973. He placed fourth.