Categorizing her diverse sound is a difficult proposition. Juno- nominated artist, Tara Kannangara's preferred tag is "Groove-Based Indie Jazz," for elements of melodic indie pop are seamlessly meshed with fresh jazz grooves. Similarly, the mellow feel of her trumpet playing neatly complements the subtle nuances of her unaffected vocal style.
Growing up in Chilliwack, BC, she studied classical piano and singing from an early age. She was active in musical theatre and choirs, then picked up the trumpet in high school, concentrating on classical before later moving into jazz. Tara studied at the University of Victoria and concentrated on classical trumpet and vocals; later, Tara moved to Toronto to pursue jazz studies at the University of Toronto where she came into her own as a performer and songwriter.
As a bandleader, Kannangara is quickly making a splash on the Toronto jazz scene and continues to perform all across Canada and throughout the United States with notable performances at the Smithsonian Institute in Washington DC and New York City's Jazz Gallery. Tara's group has been awarded the 2016 Julian Award for excellence in emerging Canadian jazz artists, the Sting Ray Rising Star Award as a part of the TD Montreal Jazz Festival and her debut album "Some Version of the Truth" has been nominated for a 2016 Juno Award for Vocal Jazz Album of the Year.
Tara has had the opportunity to work and perform with leading international jazz artists, including Esperanza Spalding, Theo Bleckmann, Tim Hagans, Ran Blake, Donny McCaslin, Bry Webb, Kirk MacDonald, Andrew Downing, and Elizabeth Shepherd.
"Tara Kannangara is a wonderful young artist with a prodigious musical gifts and a remarkably mature creative vision. Her music is packed with ideas, and yet it flows along with a natural warmth and elegance. She's got a rare and special combination of assets: her songs are full of soul and wit, her improvisations are graceful and lyrical, and she's a sparkling performer. I can't wait to hear what she does next!"
-Vijay Iyer - Grammy-nominated pianist and composer
"Tara's commitment to music is equally beautiful as it is inspiring and refreshing. I am totally a fan of hers now and forever. I look forward to the ride she takes us on. An Artist!!"
-Ambrose Akinmusire - Trumpet player and composer, 2007 winner of the Thelonious Monk International Jazz Competition
“This is the kind of jazz aficionados should prefer...whether it's as a singer or trumpeter (and I can't decide in which role I prefer her, so strong are these performances), Kannangara is always in service of the song.“
-Mark Rheaume, - CBC Radio
"Tara has the goods to back up the ambitious scope of her musical projects: clarion voice, solid lyrics, heavy trumpet chops and the kind of depth and sincerity that will keep you interested and wanting to dig deeper into what it is she's offering."
-Elizabeth Shepherd - Polaris Prize and Juno nominated recording artist.