Karkwa had little presence outside its native Quebec when its fourth album, Les Chemins de Verre, was selected as winner of the 2010 Polaris Music Prize—a $20,000 cheque that went to the year’s Best Album, as determined by media from across the country.
The award landed the band immediate attention in English-speaking Canada, and coverage in top publications NME, Rolling Stone, Huffington Post, The Guardian, Los Angeles Times, and Billboard.
“We sell a lot of albums during the two or three weeks after winning the prize outside of Quebec, in all the provinces in Canada,” said the band’s French-speaking manager Sandy Boutin. “The Polaris have a big impact and it have a big impact too on our sales in Quebec. Quebec we are really not huge, but everybody know about Karkwa. Our last album Le volume du vent, we sold 30,000 copies only in Quebec and with Polaris all the Anglophone media talk about Karkwa after winning the prize.”
As the next Polaris ceremony takes place on Sept. 19 with a private gala at the Masonic Temple, Karkwa will be in Toronto, as it crosses the country on its first headlining tour. The band’s concert at Lee’s Palace (529 Bloor St. W.) is Sept. 17 and the five-piece band will stay in the city to present the cheque (this time $30,000) to the 2011 Polaris winner.
A day after the concert, there is also a screening of Les Cendres de Verre, the art-documentary for Karkwa’s fourth album, Chemins de Verre, at the University of Toronto’s Innis Town Hall (2 Sussex Ave.) at 2:30 p.m.
Directed by Nat Le Scouarnec (La Blogotheque), the film features live clips and behind the scenes footage of Karkwa during the release of that breakthrough album.