Tara Kannangara is a vocalist and instrumentalist known for her diverse sound. The Juno-nominated artist’s style is a mesh of genres which she refers to as “Groove-Based Indie Jazz.” Growing up in Chilliwack, BC, Tara originally focused on Classical music and studied Classical trumpet and voice at the University of Victoria. She later moved to Toronto to pursue Jazz studies at the University of Toronto, where she came into her own as a performer and songwriter. Tara has performed at locations across North America, including the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC, and New York City's Jazz Gallery. She has also collaborated with artists such as Theo Bleckmann, Andrew Downing, Donny McCaslin, The Tenors, Elizabeth Shepherd, Esperanza Spalding, and many more. Winner of the prestigious Sting Ray Rising Star award at the 2016 Festival International de Jazz de Montréal, Tara continues to tour nationally and internationally with her own projects.
Tara currently holds a position at the University of Toronto’s Faculty of Music in the Jazz program as a sessional teacher. As a musician and an educator, Tara is a strong ally and advocate of diversity in the arts industry as shown not only through her work and her story, but also through her constant support to young BIPOC artists and through collaborations with FoMARA and This is Arts School. Tara is currently working with filmmaker Brittany Farhat to produce a short film titled Extraordinary People, a semi- autobiographical/fictional tale of young second-generation BIPOC individuals and their struggles to understand the culture they come from and the North American culture they have assimilated to in order to be what today’s society deems “successful.”
In this Interview
Assimilation, Black Music, COVID-19, Economic Disparity, Gender Disparity, Identity, Imposter Syndrome, Jazz, Terminology of Diversity, Mental Health, Music Pedagogy, Patriarchy, Police Violence, Racial Inequity, Safe Spaces, Second-Generation Canadian, Slavery, Systemic Discrimination, Tokenization, White Privilege, White Supremacy
This interview includes mentions of the deaths of George Floyd and Breonna Taylor.
On November 15, 2020, Tara Kannangara participated in an interview with Hillary Chu (member of the Faculty of Music Anti-Racism Alliance).
View interview in full screen.