Next Wave Throat-Singing With Tanya Tagaq At Yerba Buena Center


Throat-singing is capable of throwing the most delicious shivers down your spine -- be it from Bulgaria, Tuva, or Nunavut. Tanya Tagaq hails from the latter territory in northern Canada, where a few thousand Inuits live. Still, the aboriginal throat-singer sounds as if she could have easily stepped off a spaceship straight from Planet Post-Punk.

No wonder Bjork identified her as a kindred soul and took her on her **Vespertine** tour in ‘05, and little surprise that the Bay Area’s Kronos Quartet collaborated and performed with her on the stomping-ground shout-out of a composition, “Nunavut,” on their ‘08 outing, an experience that inspired Kronos player David Harrington to call her the “Jimi Hendrix of Inuit throat singers.” Tagaq now plays S.F. as part ofYerba Buena Center for the Arts’ “Next Wave of Global Sounds” series Saturday, Aug. 15.

With a little help from yet another friend, Faith No More honcho Mike Patton, the vocalist fashioned an aurally exploratory, award-winning second solo album, last year’s **Auk/Blood,** for Patton’s Ipecac label. It’s riveting in thoroughly unexpected ways -- the stuff of primal forces rendered with a keen ear to contemporary music. “Fire - Ikuma,” for instance, soars with dissonant then sweetly plangent violin and cello and earthbound panting, while the beat-ravaged “Want” has Tagaq tangling with rapper Buck 65. On abstract compositions like “Blood - Auk” her breath reaches a crescendo alongside spiraling strings and bass-y earth tones.

Tagaq performs alongside local percussion virtuoso Scott Amendola and Vancouver violinist Jesse Zubot -- get there early to check out another Amendola project, Kihnoua. Founded by saxophonist Larry Ochs of Rova Saxophone Quartet, the all-star ensemble includes cellist Joan Jeanrenaud and vocalist-drummer-dancer Dohee Lee.

Tanya Tagaq appears Saturday, Aug. 15, 8 p.m., at Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, 701 Mission St., S.F. Kihnoua opens. $25. (415) 478-2787,

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