Legendary Cree Singer Buffy Sainte-Marie Wins 2015 Polaris Music Prize for 'Power in the Blood'


For the second year in a row, an Indigenous woman has won the Polaris Prize.

Indigenous icon and legendary Cree singer, Buffy Sainte-Marie, has won the prestigious Polaris Music Prize for best Canadian album of the year for her 21st album, Power in the Blood.

In what continues to be another banner year for the Indigenous music community, Sainte-Marie's Polaris win comes closely on the heels of last year's winner, Tanya Tagaq.

Humble and gracious in her acceptance of the $50,000 award, the 74-year-old singer adds the prize to an iconic career's worth of accolades but, Power in the Blood, marks one of the Polaris' most overtly political nods in the award's history. That is, if you forget the list of over 1,000 names of Missing and Murdered Indigenous Women that accompanied Tagaq's stellar performance last year—or the resistance rhythms of 2012 nominees A Tribe Called Red.

As Matt Williams wrote, over at Noisey:

Power In The Blood, besides being a powerful, affecting and triumphant record, is steeped deeply in politics. Those politics are pretty status quo for a group of left-leaning media elite (Power In The Blood rails against corporations and colonialism, speaks up for the environment), and that’s what makes it a safe choice. But it also doesn’t particularly matter. In the 2015 stable of Polaris noms, Buffy Sainte-Marie had the only album that really, truly said something, or spoke up consistently for something bigger than its creator...And that’s a pretty great reason to give someone an award. Sainte-Marie said she planned to split the prize money between charities for animal rights, marginalized people, and indigenous people and the environment.

In 2015, it has become absolutely clear that not only are Indigenous artists at the forefront of contemporary culture, they are also finally receiving much overdue recognition for their continued creativity, vision, and artistry.

Buffy is a living legend in the Indigenous community, but it's taken until her seventh decade on this planet for the Canadian music community to realize the depth and profundity of her singularly iconic creative expression. “Aboriginal music has been good for a very long time,” Buffy said, “but nobody has been listening to it”.

We've known all along. And we're glad everyone is else is catching up.

"Seems like Indigenous women are just totally making waves & taking over the place!", said Métis artist Christi Belcourt. They are. And they should be.

If you haven't heard Power in the Blood, now's your chance to stream it below.

Watch Buffy Sainte-Marie Perform "Power in the Blood" Live at the 2015 Polaris Music Prize Awards

STREAM: Buffy Sainte Marie, Power in the Blood

Buffy Sainte-Marie Continues to Push Boundaries on New Album, "Power in the Blood"


At age 74, activist, artist, and icon Buffy Sainte-Marie remains refreshingly forthright, not to mention downright danceable, on her new album, Power in the Blood.

A collection of originals and cover songs, the album includes the techno-laced, anthemic title track (the result of a collaboration with electronic group Alabama 3) Power in the Blood, the reiteration of the longevity and diversity of Buffy's career in the re-imagining of the title track from her 1964 debut album It's My Way, her take on UB40's Sing Our Own Songand the fiery reworking of her 1972 released break-up song Not the Lovin' Kind.

In addition to the updated spin on existing material, the stand out new songs Carry it On and We Are Circling celebrate the sanctity and beauty of life and nature and, what we know and love Buffy best for, scathing political and social commentary.

Of seeming unending energy to speak and perform, Buffy is currently touring in support of the new album throughout the UK, the US, and Canada - check out the full list of tour dates below.

Listen to the title track now, actually don't just listen, stand up and join in, "there's power in the blood, justice in the soul."

STREAM: Buffy Sainte-Marie - "It's My Way"

Tour dates:

03/18 Cardiff, UK - Motorpoint Arena * 03/20 Leeds, UK - First Direct Arena * 03/21 Glasgow, UK - The SSE Hydro * 03/24 Belfast, UK - Odyssey Arena * 03/26 London, UK - The Tabernacle 03/27 Birmingham, UK - Barclaycard Arena * 04/26 Sidney, BC - Mary Winspear Centre 04/29 Campbell River, BC - The Tidemark Theatre 04/30 North Vancouver, BC - Capilano University Centre for the Performing Arts Theatre 05/01 North Vancouver, BC - Capilano University Centre for the Performing Arts Theatre 05/06 London, ON - Aeolian Hall 05/07 Toronto, ON Koerner Hall 05/09 Burnstown, ON - Neat Coffee Shop 05/15 Lincoln, NE - University of Nebraska Lincoln 05/17 Chicago, IL - City Winery 05/18 Philadelphia, PA - World Cafe Live 05/19 Washington, DC - The Hamilton 05/20 New York, NY - Highline Ballroom 07/16 Grass Valley, CA - California Worldfest 08/07 Little Current, ON - Manitoulin Country Fest


Buffy's new album, Power in the Blood, is available now on iTunes.