December 09, 2014, BY Kathryn Kopchik

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This event has been CANCELLED due to extenuating circumstances. The Box Office is in the process of contacting advance ticket holders. 

The Weis Center for the Performing Arts will present a multimedia and world music performance by Tanya Tagaq on Wednesday, Jan. 28, at 7:30 p.m. at the Campus Theatre, 413 Market St., in downtown Lewisburg. Doors open at 6:30 p.m.

Inuit throat singer, improviser and two-time Juno Award nominee Tanya Tagaq reclaims the controversial 1922 silent film classic Nanook of the North.

The film is considered the world's first major work of non-fiction filmmaking, yet it is rife with contradictions. Nanook of the North portrays the lives of an Inuk family in Arctic Canada. Its director, Robert Flaherty, lived and worked with Inuit for years, but still included staged scenes of buffoonery and feigned Inuit ignorance of modern accoutrements.

Tagaq, along with percussionist Jean Martin and violinist Jesse Zubot, perform a live accompaniment to the film's silent images of life in an early 20th-century Inuit community in Northern Quebec.

Muskrat Magazine says of the performance, "Tanya Tagaq took the stage and crouched below the screen to sing ... the sounds of the sled dogs and the winds. Tanya is an incredible Inuk throat singer from Cambridge Bay ... When Tanya, her band, and Nanook of the North came together ... it was breathtaking ..."

Working with composer Derek Charke, Tagaq employs exquisite improvisations with traditional roots, a style she has perfected over a decade of performances on major stages worldwide, as well as with collaborations with everyone from Björk to Mike Patton.

Tanya Tagaq in concert with Nanook of the North was commissioned by the Toronto International Film Festival, where it premiered to critical acclaim in 2012 as part of its film retrospective First Peoples Cinema: 1500 Nations, One Tradition. The 2014 Polaris Music Prize winner, Tagaq was awarded the Galaxie Rising Star Award at the 2013 Mundial Montreal for her showcase performance of the program.

"The film expresses a lot of what I'm thinking and feeling," Tagaq reflects. "It softened my anger about some of the great difficulties facing my community and put some beauty in there. It's so hard to capture the absolute vastness of those places with visual elements alone. You can look at it, and it looks beautiful, but it's also spacious and terrifying. The sound is very expansive. You can hear people talking from so far away. A single duck flying over you has the loudest sound in its wings. I have it in me, because I was born and raised up there."

Drawing on her childhood on Nunavut's Victoria Island, and on her mother's memories of forced relocation from the film's Northern Quebec location, Tagaq's sense of the sound of the Arctic spaces shown in the film transforms the images, adding great feeling and depth to what is a complex mix of beautiful representations and racially charged clichés.

Tagaq viewed the film, improvising two interlocking parts based on Inuit throat singing forms, which usually involve two vocalists. As she did, she experienced a wealth of emotions, from pride to delight to rage. "Initially I found it a hindrance to adhere to the visual element and not be totally free, but I like the dimension it gave me," Tagaq notes, "and the ability that I have to let the film be the film."

Charke left Tagaq's recorded vocals intact, weaving in sounds he collected during stays in the Arctic, as well as using subtle processing to enhance certain moments in her voice. Live, Tagaq adds yet another swath of sound, reacting once again to the images and music laid down with Charke. The layers that form the soundscape echo the layers of meaning that can be drawn from the film itself, from its gorgeous scenes of a very different Arctic a century ago, and from its failings, when it devolves into harsh stereotype.

General admission tickets for the performance are $10 for adults, $8 for seniors 62+ and subscribers, $5 for youth 18 and under, $5 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), free for Bucknell students (limit 2), and $5 for non-Bucknell college students (limit 2).

Tickets can be purchased online at or by calling the Campus Box Office at 570-577-1000.

Tickets are also available in person from several locations including the Weis Center lobby weekdays 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. and the CAP Center Box Office, located on the ground floor of the Elaine Langone Center, weekdays, 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.

For more information about this performance, contact Lisa Leighton, marketing and outreach director, at 570-577-3727 or by email at

The next event in the Weis Center's 2014-15 Series is a modern dance performance by Jessica Lang Dance on Saturday, Jan. 31, at 7:30 p.m. at the Weis Center. Hailed as "a master of visual composition" by Dance Magazine, Lang seamlessly incorporates striking design elements and transforms classical ballet language into artfully crafted, emotionally engaging contemporary works. Tickets for the performance are $20 for adults, $16 for seniors 62+, $10 for youth 18 and under, $10 for Bucknell employees and retirees (limit 2), $10 for Bucknell students (limit 2), and $10 for non-Bucknell college students (limit 2).

For more information about the Weis Center for the Performing Arts, go to or