Pierre Kwenders won the 2022 Polaris Music Award for his 2022 album, José Louis and the Love Paradox.
An 11-member jury selected the record as Canada Album of the Year, based solely on artistic merit. The announcement was made at Carlu in Toronto on September 19, at Polaris’ first in-person celebration since 2019 due to the pandemic.
In his emotional acceptance speech, Kwenders paid tribute to three family members he recently lost: two cousins and his godfather. “The reason why I do what I do, why I tell the story I tell,” he said, “is telling the stories of the people who inspire me. All three of those people inspired me. for me.”
He continued: “This is the story of so many people, so many Africans, so many young disabled African boys and girls who moved here and discovered themselves. And I stumbled upon myself. myself, discovering who I am, in Canada.
“And I’m so grateful to Canada, for giving me the space to really, really explore myself.”
Although non-English albums have won in the past, José Louis and the Love Paradox marks the first winning album to feature Lingala, Kikongo and Tshiluba, in addition to French and English. (The last French album to win was by Karkwa Les chemins de verre in 2010).
As his most personal album – José Louis is the real name of the Kwenders – José Louis and the Love Paradox “sees Kwenders open his heart to explore the nuances of love and its many powerful languages,” Kyle Mullin wrote for CBC Music earlier this month, in our article. Shortlist Shortcut String.
Albums also features a wide variety of sounds and global influences including Congolese rumba, electronic, pop, R&B and jazz.
This year marks the second nomination on the Kwenders shortlist. The first time he made the shortlist was in 2018 with his sophomore album, Makanda at the end of space, the beginning of timelost to Jeremy Dutcher’s Wolastoqiyik Lintuwakonawa.