2010 Polaris Music Prize awarded to Karkwa

On Monday Night, the prestigious Polaris Music Prize held a gala in Toronto to announce the winner of the annual music prize.

The award was granted to Francophone indie band Karkwa for their album Les Chemins de Verre.

The winner of the $20,000 prize was voted on by a grand jury of various music journalists and bloggers from across Canada, including CBC’s Jian Ghomeshi and a York University professor.

Karkwa’s victory was announced after each nominated act got the chance to perform in front of the gala attendees.

Broken Social Scene opened the concert portion of the evening with “Meet Me in the Basement” and “Texico Bitches” from their album Forgiveness Rock Record and were followed by each of the other nominees who all played two song sets from their nominated albums.

Highlights of the gala performances included Dan Mangan’s performance of “Robots”, to which the entire crowd sang along.

There was also a celebratory rendition of “Happy Birthday” sung to twins Tegan and Sarah Quin.

Shad’s unique brand of hip hop further delivered the entertainment.

Pitted against established Canadian acts like Broken Social Scene and Tegan & Sara, Karkwa seemed like an underdog in the race.

Speaking to The Cord prior to the award ceremony, drummer Stéphane Bergeron praised the Polaris method of evaluation saying, “The way they choose the winners isn’t the industry vote and it isn’t the public vote – it’s a committee of judges.”

Polaris prides itself on critiquing the shortlisted nominees solely based on artistic merit, without consideration of album sales.

Nevertheless, Bergeron didn’t seem as though he was expecting to win.

When speaking to The Cord, he noted that Karkwa didn’t want to win merely based on the fact that they were the only French artists nominated, and claimed that they would like to see Caribou or Owen Pallett win the prize.

Karkwa are now the fifth artist to win the Polaris Music Prize, which has been awarded annually since 2005.