Buffy Sainte-Marie, the 74-year-old Cree artist and 1960s folk music icon, has won the 2015 Polaris Music Prize for her album “Power in the Blood.” The prize is worth $50,000 and goes to the best Canadian album of the year based on “artistic merit without regard to genre, sales history or label affiliation.”
It was determined by a Grand Jury of music industry professionals, including journalists, broadcasters, DJs and media personalities. The Gala, held in downtown Toronto on Monday, featured performances from five of the 10 nominees, including Alvvays, Braids and Sainte-Marie.
Power in the Blood — Sainte-Marie’s first album in nearly seven years — ranges in sound from blues to folk and includes both new material and reinterpretations of some older material. Activist-minded, it also includes versions of UB40’s “Sing Our Own Song” and Alabama 3’s “Power in the Blood,” the title track that condemns war.
Sainte-Marie, who is the second indigenous winner of the Polaris Music Prize (last year’s went to Inuk throat singer Tanya Tagaq), said she intends to donate her prize money to three charities involved with animal rights, indigenous and marginalized people and the environment.