Montreal rock group Karkwa wins the Polaris
Annual prize is given for best Canadian music album of the year
Anglophone music fans: grab your English-French dictionaries.
At a gala ceremony in Toronto on Monday night, Montreal francophone rockers Karkwa were awarded the 2010 Polaris Music Prize for their album Les Chemins De Verre.
The award comes with a $20,000 purse, and is handed out annually for the best Canadian album of the year. The prize does not consider sales or genre.
"That's weird, that's very strange," said the surprised-looking band after being awarded the prize. "We're holding a cheque for $20,000, and we don't understand anything."
The ceremony, held in the Concert Hall at Toronto's historic Masonic Temple, featured performances by all 10 of this year's shortlisted artists -- Broken Social Scene, The Besnard Lakes, Tegan and Sara, Shad, Caribou, Owen Pallett, Dan Mangan, Radio Radio and The Sadies.
Karkwa's win marks the first time in the Polaris's five-year history the award has been given to a non-English band.
"We've tried before to (get into) festivals in Western Canada," the band's singer, Louis-Jean Cormier, said before the gala. "Maybe winning the prize would help us book those."
The band -- singer Cormier, keyboardist Francois Lafontaine, drummer Julien Sagot, drummer Stephane Bergeron and bassist Martin Lamontagne -- was formed in 1998 and have released three albums prior to Les Chemins De Verre, including Les tremblements s'immobilisent, which won three Felix Awards.in 2006.
When asked at a news conference after the award ceremony, what the band would do with its winnings, the members consulted for moment before confessing: "We should hire a tour manager. A real one. Steph is our tour manager, but he's our drummer as well."
The young prize, which has quickly become of Canadian music's biggest nights, was announced by last year's winners, Toronto hardcore act F-cked Up. Previous winners include Caribou, Patrick Watson and Final
BY BRAD FRENETTE, POSTMEDIA NEWS SEPTEMBER 22, 2010