Canada's Polaris Prize Was Awarded To Montreal-Based Musician Pierre Kwenders

The artist takes home a cool $50,000.

Staff Writer
Pierre Kwenders, right, overcome with emotion after winning the Polaris prize.

Pierre Kwenders, right, overcome with emotion after winning the Polaris prize.

As announced in Toronto on September 19, Montreal-based artist Pierre Kwenders won the 2022 Polaris prize for his third album, José Louis And The Paradox of Love. The prize, selected by a jury of 11 music media workers in Canada, is judged solely on the competing albums' artistic merit.

Kwenders was selected from a 10-artist shortlist of Canadian albums, including Acadian singer-songwriter Lisa LeBlanc's Chiac Disco. All shortlisted artists receive a $3,000 prize, and Kwenders is taking home a very respectable $50,000 for his win.

"This is crazy, I don’t even know what to think," the musician exclaimed in his acceptance speech. "This is for all the kids from the diaspora, the African diaspora, moving in (sic) Canada. Sometimes you feel like you don’t know what you’re running into, or what you’re coming into. But there is hope, there is a place to live and dream and be yourself," Kwenders continued.

The lavish Polaris Gala, which has been held over live stream in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic, returned fully in-person this year, complete with installations from local artists. At the gala, the shortlist for the Polaris Heritage Prize was also released, naming twelve historic Canadian albums noted for their special artistic merit.

This shortlist includes Leonard Cohen's 1984 album Various Positions, which would be the second of his albums to receive the award if it wins. The Heritage Prize winner will be announced on October 21, 2022.

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