Gifts From The North: 10 Canadian Artists You Need To Know : World Cafe World Cafe's new contributing host and producer, Talia Schlanger, spotlights music from her mother country.
NPR logo Gifts From The North: 10 Canadian Artists You Need To Know

Gifts From The North: 10 Canadian Artists You Need To Know

Andy Shauf by Geoff Fitzgerald (left), Tanya Tagaq by Katrin Naleid (right top), Kaytranada by Liam McCrae (right bottom) Courtesy of the artists hide caption

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Courtesy of the artists

Andy Shauf by Geoff Fitzgerald (left), Tanya Tagaq by Katrin Naleid (right top), Kaytranada by Liam McCrae (right bottom)

Courtesy of the artists

Hi, World Cafe fans! I just moved to the U.S. from Toronto, Canada, to become World Cafe's new contributing host and producer. Yes, I'm from Drake's hometown. And yes, that's the most frequently asked question since I've been here. But if your musical knowledge north of the 49th parallel doesn't extend past Drizzy and The Six, you're in luck. I brought a pile of musical gifts across the border with me. Below, find your introduction to 10 Canadian acts you definitely want on your radar.

Who's new to you on this list? Who do you love? Who did I miss? Let me know on Twitter — I'm @TaliaSchlanger.

Can't wait to share the best of the best in the U.S. and beyond, now that I'm officially on World Cafe turf!

10 Canadian Acts You Need To Know

Andy Shauf

  • Song: The Magician

There are less than 1000 people who live in the small prairie town of Bienfait, Saskatchewan. One of them is Andy Shauf. He plays almost every instrument on his stellar new record, The Party, which is what Todd Rundgren might sound like after a drunken dust-up with Elliott Smith and a pile of woodland creatures in a fairy forest.

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SATE

  • Song: Warrior

If you thought Canadians were nothin' but nice, Toronto's SATE will kick you right upside the northern noggin. She won't say "sorry" either. Her debut album, RedBlack&Blue, features a band hot enough to melt polar ice caps and a voice that'll stop you dead in your bear tracks. Strong language warning. Strong woman warning, too.

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Tuns

  • Song: Mind Over Matter

Tuns is what it might sound like if The Beach Boys drank homebrew out of mason jars by the Atlantic oceanside. It's a trio of Canadian indie-rock royalty: Chris Murphy of Sloan, Matt Murphy of the now defunct but forever beloved The Super Friendz and Mike O'Neill of The Inbreds. Tuns may typify the Hali-pop/grunge sound that earned Halifax, Nova Scotia, high praise as Canada's answer to Seattle in the 1990s, but it's no nostalgia act. This band is fresh as an Atlantic breeze.

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Tanya Tagaq

  • Song: Uja

Tanya Tagaq is a force of nature from one of Canada's northernmost communities: Cambridge Bay, Nunavut. She's an Inuit throat singer who summons an ages-old tradition from the indigenous people of Canada's northern regions and infuses it with soaring strings and soul-stirring beats. Her music is visceral, raw, stunning. She's also getting ready to unleash a brand-new record called Retribution, which promises to stir the political pot on issues surrounding Canada's treatment of First Nations people.

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Kaytranada

  • Song: You're the One

Kaytranada just won Canada's most prestigious musical prize — the Polaris — for his debut record, 99.9%. Kay is a visionary who refuses to color inside genre lines, who's being heralded as the future of fusion. He's turned critical heads around the world, his fans include Madonna and Rick Rubin — and he's 24 years old. Chew on that.

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Donovan Woods

  • Song: What Kind of Love is That

There are very few writers who can make you laugh and break your heart in the same song. Sarnia, Ontario's Donovan Woods is one of them.

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Begonia

  • Song: Juniper

You can find Begonia's Alexa Dirks at the place where where synth-pop meets old soul and scrappy meets sexy. Or just look in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

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The Wooden Sky

  • Song: Oslo

On a sunny summer's day in Toronto, you can find every hula-hooping hipster sprawled across Trinity Bellwoods Park, hiding homebrew in paper bags. You can also probably find various members of Toronto's The Wooden Sky biking and making music to melt your heart or your face, depending on the day. The band is due for a new record, but for now enjoy this throwback performance as an intro to an influential band of buddies who definitely want to spend a musical day in the park.

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Hannah Georgas

  • Song: Don't Go

Over the past decade, Canadian scenesters have watched Hannah Georgas evolve from a spark-plug singer-songwriter with a guitar to a fully realized master craftswoman, capable of orchestrating lush pop that ebbs, flows, swells and subsides. Her third LP, For Evelyn, is artful and heartfelt — and it's for her grandmother.

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July Talk

  • Song: Beck + Call

He's gravel and whisky. She's pinot noir and angel dust. Together, Peter Dreimanis and Leah Fay are July Talk — sexy as hell and Canada's emerging favorite are-they-aren't-they musical duo. Watch them duke it out at the end of the world in this video, and check out their newly released second album, Touch.

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