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The winner of the 2022 Polaris Music Prize is Pierre Kwenders

After a year of debate and voting, the Polaris Music Prize has declared that José Louis and the Paradox of Love by Pierre Kwenders is the best Canadian album of the last 12 months. The announcement as made at the Grand Gala last night in Toronto.

Kwenders, based in Montreal, is now on his third album. It’s also very multi-lingual, featuring not only English and French, but Lingala, Kikongo and Tshiluba. Influences range from pop and electronic music to jazz, R&B, and Congolese rumba. He wins the $50,000 grand prize.

Here’s the full Short List of finalists. The other nine albums receive a cash prize of $3,000.

  1. Destroyer – LABYRINTHITIS
  2. Pierre Kwenders – José Louis And The Paradox Of Love
  3. Lisa Leblanc – Chiac Disco
  4. Hubert Lenoir – PICTURA DE IPSE : Musique directe
  5. Kelly McMichael – Waves
  6. Ombiigizi – Sewn Back Together
  7. Ouri – Frame of a Fauna
  8. Shad – TAO
  9. Snotty Nose Rez Kids – Life After
  10. Charlotte Day Wilson – ALPHA

There has been some discussion about the Short List this year, with people wondering if juries are going even more obscure with their selections. In the eyes of some, obscurity seems to the overriding factor guiding some voters. These albums may be excellent, but were there not more popular albums that were better? Discuss.

Alan Cross

is an internationally known broadcaster, interviewer, writer, consultant, blogger and speaker. In his 40+ years in the music business, Alan has interviewed the biggest names in rock, from David Bowie and U2 to Pearl Jam and the Foo Fighters. He’s also known as a musicologist and documentarian through programs like The Ongoing History of New Music.

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One thought on “The winner of the 2022 Polaris Music Prize is Pierre Kwenders

  • I like that we have one award where popularity isn’t a factor at all. I respect that the Polaris is purely about artistic merit regardless of sales and genre. Let the other awards assess popularity. Seriously, the Polaris Prize long and short lists are an excellent way to discover new Canadian music that is typically ignored by mainstream media.


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