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Leonard Cohen and Gord Downie Make the Final Ten For the Polaris Music Prize

by VVN Music

The short list has been announced for the Polaris Music Prize and it contains two veteran artists, one who recently passed away and one who is terminally ill.

Leonard Cohen, who died on November 7 of last year, has made the final ten with his last official album, You Want It Darker. This is Cohen's first time making the list for the prize that was established in 2006 to honor the best Canadian album based on artistic merit.

Also on the list is Gord Downie, the lead singer of the Tragically Hip, for his album Secret Path which was based on the story of a native boy who, in 1966, was killed after escaping an Indian residential school.  It is also the first nomination for Downie who was diagnosed last year with a terminal brain tumor.

Two former winners are also nominated.  Feist won in 2012 with her album Metals and is up this year for Pleasure.  She was also nominated in 2007 for The Reminder.  Tanya Tagaq took the prize in 2014 for Animism and is on the short list this year for Retribution.

This year's short list:
  • We Are the Halluci Nation - A Tribe Called Red
  • You Want It Darker - Leonard Cohen
  • Secret Path - Gord Downie
  • Pleasure - Feist
  • Why You Wanna Leave, Runaway Queen? - Lisa LeBlanc
  • La Papessa - Lido Pimienta
  • Retribution - Tanya Tagaq
  • Twin Solitude - Leif Vollebekk
  • Weaves - Weaves
An eleven member grand jury will now debate the merits of the ten nominees and a winner will be announced on September 18 at the Carlu in Toronto.  The winner receives $50,000 while the runner-ups get $3,000 each. 

The previous winners of the Polaris Music Prize:
  • 2006 - He Poos Clouds - Final Fantasy
  • 2007 - Close to Paradise - Patrick Watson
  • 2008 - Andorra - Caribou
  • 2009 - The Chemistry of Common Life - Fucked Up
  • 2010 - Les Chemins de verre - Karkwa
  • 2011 - The Suburbs - Arcade Fire
  • 2012 - Metals - Feist
  • 2013 - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! - Godspeed You! Black Emperor
  • 2014 - Animism - Tanya Tagaq
  • 2015 - Power in the Blood - Buffy Sainte-Marie
  • 2016 - 99.9% - Kaytranada