Quebec comes in strong, Shad extends his history making record on Polaris short list

New projects from some of Quebec’s most cutting-edge musicians have landed spots on the Polaris Music Prize short list.

Pop provocateur Hubert Lenoir, Congolese-Canadian Pierre Kwenders and electronic orchestral composer Ouri are among the 10 contenders for this year’s $50,000 award for best Canadian album.

They join London, Ont. rapper Shad whose “Tao” became his fifth album to be shortlisted for the Polaris, the most of any artist since the prize’s creation in 2006.

Among the Quebec nominees, Lenoir takes a spot with “Pictura de Ipse: Musique directe,” also known as “Picture of Myself,” a concept album that set recorded conversations of his daily life to musical compositions.

Kwenders, who was born Jose Louis Modabi in Kinshasa, Congo before moving to Montreal, is recognized for “Jose Louis And The Paradox Of Love.” The album captures the dancefloor energy of Afro-Latin beats and features a collaboration with Arcade Fire`s Win Butler and Regine Chassagne.

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Ouri is the stage name of Ourielle Auve, whose album “Frame of a Fauna” was inspired by her classical training in France and the electronic music she discovered upon moving to Montreal.

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First Nations hip hop act Snotty Nose Rez Kids picked up their third nod for “Life After” while Indigenous duo Ombiigizi landed on the list for their debut “Sewn Back Together,” produced by Broken Social Scene’s Kevin Drew.

Other Polaris-nominated albums include Toronto singer-songwriter Charlotte Day Wilson’s “Alpha,” Rosaireville, N.B.-raised Lisa Leblanc’s “Chiac Disco,” St. John’s-based musician Kelly McMichael’s “Waves” and Vancouver rock band Destroyer’s “Labyrinthitis.”

The Polaris Music Prize names the best Canadian album of the previous year — irrespective of genre or sales — as chosen by a group of journalists, broadcasters and bloggers. The winner will be announced Sept. 19 during a gala presentation at Toronto’s Carlu.

Tickets for the evening are available through Ticketmaster while the ceremony will be webcast live on CBC Music.

Last year, the Polaris went to hip hop artist Cadence Weapon for “Parallel World,” his poetic reflection on race, policing and technology that was largely inspired by the George Floyd protests in 2020.

Each runner-up receives $3,000.

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