74 year-old Folk singer-songwriter Buffy Sainte-Marie shows no signs of slowing down as her new album “Power in the Blood” took home the prestigious Polaris Prize on Monday night. Her music beat out 9 other Canadian performers including Toronto superstar Drake.
No stranger to awards, Sainte-Marie won an Academy award in 1982 for writing the hit “Up Where We Belong” which was the theme for the film “An Officer and a Gentleman”, and also two JUNO awards in 1997 and 2009 respectively.
Her first album in 1964 “It’s My Way!” shattered the Pocahontas stereotypes and expectations of the era and was voted Billboards Best New Artist. Sainte-Marie has never been afraid to sing about political issues and “Universal Soldier” became the anthem for the Peace Movement in the 60s.
Last year indigenous artist Tanya Tagaq won the Polaris prize for her album “Animism” which also beat out Drake – a sign perhaps that Canadian journalism is respecting and honoring indigenous art.
In the past, Sainte-Marie has pointed out the lack of recognition for Aboriginal music. She has been quoted previously as saying, “Aboriginal music has been good for a very long time, but nobody has been listening to it.” Her Polaris win this year will surely have more Canadians paying attention to this Indigenous musical powerhouse.