Northern-fried blues

Take Yoko Ono on a bad crack jag, the possessed chick in The Exorcist and one of them sea lions from the San Francisco pier and you've got a rough sense of the sound Tanya "Tagaq" Gillis gave birth to on the Bete Noir stage Wednesday night.

Part Cambridge Bay ingenue, part grand mal seizure, Tagaq held onlookers spellbound with the help of her DJ partner's Apple notebook-created soundscapes. In the delightfully harrowing process, she dragged Inuit throat singing -- screaming, groaning and ululating -- into the 21st century.

When a couple of beatbox homeboys joined her on stage, she taunted one with: "You better be good, or I'm going to hurt you."

And when her voice jammed up, she quipped: "Throat singing doesn't work when you've got a ball of phlegm in your throat. You need water -- or whiskey."

The highlight was an extended duet with her cousin Celina Kalluk that showcased their northern hypno-trance to mesmerizing effect.

A night earlier, Alejandro Escovedo dedicated a song to Joe Strummer on the same stage. Joe would've approved of Tagaq.

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