Polaris must branch out

Re: “Polaris picks,” Sept. 16, 2009

“The Polaris panel in last week’s Cord did an admirable job of embodying the attitudes typically found in the actual Polaris judges.

Unfortunately, those attitudes are one of the only flaws in an award that does an otherwise admirable job of promoting Canadian music.

For a country that boasts such a wide array of musical styles, it’s a shame to see so many such styles going unheralded.

In reading The Cord’s panel, my biggest remorse was that its predictions were probably right. The panel was an all-out love fest in favor of Patrick Watson and Chad VanGaalen, with only one of its five members, Arts Editor Rebecca Vasluianu, selecting someone else as either the deserving or likely winner.

She chose K’NAAN, who would frankly be my choice as well and, more importantly, would be a selection that would give Polaris added credibility.

Canadian hip hop is a genre that has really grown by leaps and bounds in recent years, both in terms of quality and quantity, and giving the award to a fantastically deserving album from within this genre would draw much-needed attention to that fact.

Hopefully, after you read this, you’ll be able to flip to the Arts section of the paper and rejoice in the fact that Monday’s gala unveiled a winner that broke the mold of past winners, whether that winner is K’NAAN or not.

–Mike Brown